Quackery in South Africa
Note: There is absolutely NO proof that any of the remedies discussed on this page cure AIDS, or provide any health benefits at all to people suffering from HIV/AIDS.
Comforter’s Healing Gift
Freddie Isaacs and Christine Qunta are involved in this company, which markets its fake HIV/AIDS cure as “Ancient African Wisdom”. It is unregistered and illegal to dsitribute as a “cure” for AIDS. Mr Isaacs pretends to be a prophet, but he really just wants to profit from untested and unproven cures and treatments for AIDS.
TAC have filed an official complaint against Comforter’s Healing Gift, Freddie Isaacs, and Christina Qunta.
TAC member Emma Baleka has also deposed an affidavit based on her personal experience with CHG and Freddie Isaacs.
The Democratic Alliance filed criminal charges against Christine Qunta in October 2007.
Matthias Rath’s multivitamins
Matthias Rath is the ultimate trickster. Since 2004, he has run false advertisements in newspapers claiming that ARVs are harmful and promoting the use of multivitamins to treat AIDS; he has run smear campaigns and attacked the TAC and the pharmaceutical industry. He continued to run these adverts even after the Advertising Standards Authority stopped him because they were false. Rath set up health facilities in Cape Town townships starting in 2005, where he ran workshops urging people to take his multivitamin supplements instead of ARVs. He also performed unapproved, unethical, and murderous human trials for his multivitamins. During the course of these illegal human trials, a disproportionate number of his patients died.
The TAC, along with the South African Medical Association (SAMA) deposed an affidavit against Rath and his agents in 2005.
In June 2008, the judge finally ruled in the TAC’s favor and ordered Rath and his associates to stop advertising for and distributing his unregistered medicines and to stop conducting unauthorised human trials. The full judgment may be read here. The courts also ruled that the Director General and the Department of Health must make efforts to prevent such advertisements or clinical trials from taking place.
Stephen Leivers claims that his product Secomet can cure AIDS. However, Secomet has never been tested; there is absolutely no proof that it cures AIDS. Furthermore, the key ingredient in Secomet, red clover, may even be dangerous for some people. Leivers also distributes a variety of other medicines that are untested, unproven, and illegal.
The TAC filed an affidavit with the South African Police Service in October 2006. There has been very little progress in the case.
Zeblon Gwala, a truck driver, claims his herbal concoction Ubhejane can cure AIDS and other illnesses. He has never told anyone exactly what is in Ubhejane. It has never been tested, and it is unregistered and sold illegally. Mr Gwala urges people to choose either Ubhejane or ARVs. Community Health Media Trust made a video at Ubhejane’s facilities in Pinetown that can be viewed here.
The TAC filed a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASASA) after Gwala put an advertisement for his fake cure in Ilanga newspaper in December 2007. ASASA upheld the TAC’s complaint (the ruling can be read here).
TAC member Nokhwezi Hoboyi deposed an affidavit with the Law Enforcement Unit of the Department of Health against Mr Gwala in April 2008.
A TAC member went into Tasly’s office in Cape Town and told the staff members that he had AIDS. The staff told him that they could cure AIDS with their Chinese herbal remedies, and that he did not need to take ARVs.
Prof Billy’s AIDS Clinic
Professor Billy Kariaga ran an advert in the Roodepoort Record on 6 June 2008 that claimed a cure for AIDS exists and urged people to “stop suffering in silence”. Billy Kariaga appears to be a professor at MONASH University, with a specialty in soil erosion. There is no evidence whatsoever that he is qualified as a medical doctor. It is possible that whoever is truly behind this AIDS “clinic” has just borrowed Professor Kariaga’s name, but there is no way to know for sure.