This is an archive of the Treatment Action Campaign's public documents from December 1998 until October 2008. I created this website because the TAC's website appears unmaintained and people were concerned that it
was becoming increasingly hard to find important documents.

The menu items have been slightly edited and a new stylesheet applied to the site. But none of the documents have been edited, not even for minor errors. The text appears on this site as obtained from the Internet Archive.

The period covered by the archive encompassed the campaign for HIV medicines, the civil disobedience campaigns, the Competition Commission complaints, the 2008 xenophobic violence and the PMTCT, Khayelitsha health workers and Matthias Rath court cases.

Immigrants and Refugees

  • Home Affairs Memorandums and Responses-

    TAC Memorandum to the Department of Home Affairs (17 July 2008)

    This letter was sent in order to obtain clarification about the "registration process" started by the Government at Youngsfield on 8 July.  It expresses concerns about the process, including the lack of communication of the process to displaced people, allowing people who missed the "registration process" at their site to register, the goals and uses for the registration, the uses of the issued temporary cards and the consequences for those not able to register during the allotted timeframe.


  • Legal Case-



    It is now more than two months since the xenophobic violence occurred, government has failed to remedy the situation and conditions of people at camps and in halls despite being fully aware of the worsening problem. Despite at least thirty official letters, six memoranda, many requests for information, over two hundred pleas for humanitarian and other assistance and extensive meetings with representatives of City and Provincial Government as well as many peaceful, non-violent protests and demonstrations, no meaningful change has taken place in the material conditions of people living in the camps and other safety sites; indeed the conditions have become worse.  While everything possible was done to avoid legal action, there now remains no choice but to ask for a court order for minimum international norms and standards on living conditions to be met at the camps and halls.


    Court Documents

  • Education Memorandums and Responses-


    Joint Refugee Leadership Sub-Committee on Education Letter to MEC for Education, Yousef Gabru (18 August 2008)

    This letter, written on behalf of the education sub-committtee, requests a meeting to discuss the outstanding education issues with the newly appointed MEC for Education, Yousef Gabru.  Included in this letter is the Joint Refugee Leadership Committee's memorandum to the previous MEC as well as the response to them. 


    Response Document from Department of Education (24 July 2008)

    This document was discussed and given to the Joint Refugee Leadership during a meeting with the MEC for Education, Cameron Dugmore, in which they presented their memorandum (see below). This document contains a summary of the events of the meeting as well as the Department's plan for displaced learners access to education.

  • Newsletters-


    This section details TAC's attempts to overcome the information vaccuum that existed in the camps and community sites.  This is our effort to relay information to displaced people about the political, legal and other developments relating to the xenophobic crisis.  The newsletters were each designed with content input from civil society stakeholders as well as refugee leadership  about what information is needed and wanted within their sites.



    Newsletter #5 (18 August 2008)

  • Assessments and Reports-

    Updated Western Cape Displaced People Report (13 August 2008)

    The latest update on the living situation of displaced people in the Western Cape.  The situation has not changed substantially.


    Report of Requests Made to the Joint Operation Centre (JOC) for the month of July (31 July 2008)

    This report details the requests made by TAC to the JOC for which none were acted upon

  • Xenophobia-



    TAC has its foundations in human rights. As part of the campaign to provide access to treatment for HIV to all South Africans, TAC has always been aware of other social issues affecting South Africa. Gender violence, hate crimes and social inequality are inextricably linked to HIV in society. In recent years, foreign nationals, especially from other parts of Africa, have been amongst members of society vulnerable to exploitation and violence.

    In May, 2008, systematic violence against foreign nationals broke out. People were targeted in communities and chased from their homes and businesses. At least 50 people were murdered by mobs, looting was widespread, and rape was reported.

  • TAC and ALP Win Critical Victory in Court Action Against Government on Behalf of Displaced Persons-


    Today is an important day for displaced people and a victory for Hirsi and TAC.

    At the end of July 2008, the Treatment Action Campaign, the AIDS Law Project and Mahammud Hirsi took all tiers of government -with the Western Cape Provincial Government being the first respondent- to court after waiting for about 9 weeks to ensure that minimum norms and standards on sanitation, food and shelter amongst others would be implemented in places of shelter in accordance with our Constitution and the obligations we have under international law.

  • Press-


    TAC Press Statements

    6 August 2008 - TAC Responds to City eviction notice and camp mismanagement

    4 August 2008 - Cessation of TAC humanitarian aid relief to displaced people, court case and picket update

    22 July 2008 - Press statement from Joint Refugee Leadership Committee re Home Affairs, camp conditions, education, protest timetable

    10 July 2008 -  Joint Civil Society press release on site conditions, denial of access, registration process, humanitarian aid, and other general issues


    Civil Society Press Statements

  • Health Memorandums and Responses-

    Summary of Metro Health Plan

    Response letter from Province (18 June 2008)

    This letter guarantees the right of refugees to health care at Provincial facilities: "Our policy is not to turn anyone away."


    Response Letter sent by City (17 June 2008)

    This response guarantees the right of refugees to access health care at City facilities: "City Health does not require patients to produce identification documents in order to be seen.  This has been communicated to all facilities."


    Civil Society Memorandum (13 June 2008)

  • TAC Launches Litigation on Behalf of Persons Displaced by Xenophobic Violence in the Western Cape-

    TAC litigates on behalf of displaced people


    TAC has launched a court action on behalf of people who have displaced by xenophobic violence. Papers for Hirsi and TAC v Provincial Government, City of Cape Town and Government of RSA were filed on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 in the High Court of South Africa, Cape of Good Hope Provincial Division. The court case seeks to address conditions in camps and safety sites housing displaced people in the Western Cape. Govenment has stated that humanitarian aid will end on the 3rd September 2008. 5000 people remain displaced in consistently poor conditions.

  • Documentation and Correspondence on Advocacy Issues-

    TAC and our Civil Society has produced numerous memorandums, newsletters and press statements throughout this crisis.  This page is our effort to make these documents publicly available.

    Memorandums and Responses


    General Requests for Plans and Strategies


    Home Affairs



  • General Requests for Plans and Strategies-

     Office of the Premier's Plan for Reintegration

    This is a powerpoint presentation distributed to the Human Rights Commission outlining the Premier's Office's plan for reintegration.


    Joint Civil Society Memorandum to the Western Cape Provincial Government (25 July 2008)



    TAC Memorandum to Provincial Government Regarding Current Crisis at Soetwater (11 June 2008)

    This letter was sent to the Premier's office expressing support for the closure of Soetwater on the grounds that it does not meet international standards, however it also calls for the opening of community halls and other safeguard measures to ensure that the process does not ignore the needs of the displaced people living in the camps.

  • Humanitarian Aid-


    Delivery Report


    Finance Report


  • Press-


    Press Statements

    6 August 2008 - TAC Responds to City eviction notice and camp mismanagement

    4 August 2008 - Cessation of TAC humanitarian aid relief to displaced people, court case and picket update

    22 July 2008 - Press statement from Joint Refugee Leadership Committee re Home Affairs, camp conditions, education, protest timetable

    10 July 2008 -  Joint Civil Society press release on site conditions, denial of access, registration process, humanitarian aid, and other general issues

  • Press- Press Statements Key Press Articles
  • UNHCR Memorandums-


    Joint Civil Society Appeal to UN and UNHCR (3 June 2008)

    "Besides sending some supplies and some evaluators to the country, the UN has been largely absent during these past three weeks of violence against refugees in our country. We believe that the UNHCR is in violation of its own international mandate and obligation to assist and advise people who have been displaced by the violence."

    Civil Society Memo to UNHCR on World Refugee Day (20 June 2008)

    "We believe that the South African office of the UNHCR has failed to respond meaningfully to the needs of displaced people."

    UNHCR Message to Refugees and Asylum Seekers in South Africa

  • Report on displaced people in the Western Cape-

    TAC, the AIDS Law Project (ALP) and other civil society organisations have published a detailed report of conditions in the refugee camps and places of shelter for displaced people in the Western Cape. The report was completed on 18 July and updated on 21 July.

    Download the report.

  • Joint Press Statement from Civil Society: Update on Displaced Persons Crisis in Cape Town-

    Thursday, 10 July 2008

    Since the 23rd of May, there have been thousands of displaced people living in camps and ‘safety’ sites around Cape Town. According to the Provincial Government as reported in the Cape Times on Friday 04 July, there are still more than 5 700 people staying at these sites. TAC estimates stand at 6171 displaced people.

  • Home Affairs Memorandums and Responses
  • Transport Memorandums and Responses-

    Civil Society Memorandum to Department of Transportation

    This letter requests that the Department of Transportation improve transport and ease of movement issues.  This includes ensuring safety on trains and other public transportation as well as make transport available to displaced people living in camps and other remote areas away from their place of employment and schools.

    Department of Transportation Response Letter

     The Department of Transportation acknowledged our letter, but failed to indicate actions taken or planned to be taken.

  • Education Memorandums and Responses-

    Civil Society's Memorandum to the Department of Education

    "We are concerned about displaced learners' access to education as well discrimination and bullying against them.  The Department of Education must ensure displaced learners' rights to education adn equality are protected"

    Department of Education's Response to Civil Society

    The Department of Education noted the memo and referred the matter to the Head of the Western Cape Education Department.  This was the only communication recieved.

  • TAC pickets outside UNHCR in Pretoria- On 2 July, TAC organised a picket outside of the United Nations building in Pretoria to demand a response to a memorandum handed over to the UNHCR by Gauteng civil society on 20 June 2008. The event was attended by 600 people, all of whom called on the UNHCR to intervene in the humanitarian crisis now facing South Africa. The community leader from the refugee camp in Acasia highlighted of the plight of foreign nationals living in the camp. He spoke of the poor conditions in the camp and told people about the hunger strike they are currently on to protest being given outdated food - and even expired infant formula, dated 2003. TAC's Secretary General Vuyiseka Dubula also spoke about civil society's frustration over the lack of response from the UNHCR after 12 days and the belief that the UNHCR is not interested in addressing the matters raised in the memorandum. A representative of the UNHCR promised to address the memorandum promptly and admitted that he and his peers and seniors had not discussed the matter yet.
  • Report on panel discussion on violence, xenophobia and camps in Gauteng and Western Cape-

    A panel discussion was held on Tuesday 24 June at the AIDS Law Project offices in Cape Town. The subject of the discussion was “Taking Stock: Violence, xenophobia and camps: Where to from here?”

    Panellists included Sharon Ekambaram, General Director of Médecins Sans Frontières South Africa based in Johannesburg, Mohammad Hirsi, refugee representative, Zackie Achmat of the TAC and Fatima Hassan, senior attorney with the AIDS Law Project.


  • TAC members and displaced people protest outside Western Cape Provincial Government Building-

    About 400 people including TAC members and displaced refugees delivered the following memorandum to the Western Cape Provincial Government today:

    Joint Civil Society memorandum to the Western Cape Provincial Government (PGWC)

    Immediately following the xenophobic attacks in the Western Cape in May 2008, thousands of displaced foreign nationals sought shelter and safety in more than 85 sites across Cape Town. Some were cared for by faith-based organizations, and community organisations, others were provided basic food and shelter by NGOs. Thousands more were forced by their dire circumstances into the bigger refugee camps.

    The City of Cape Town, under the leadership of the Democratic Alliance, insisted that these camps were the best way of managing the humanitarian disaster, refusing to open community halls and centres in the southern suburbs, central business district and Atlantic seaboard, i.e. historically white areas. We condemn this racist and xenophobic response by Mayor Helen Zille. We condemn her spate of callous comments about refugees and immigrants and other displaced people. We further condemn her inefficient management of the refugee camps that she has established and the continuing undignified conditions at these camps.

  • Support the people of Zimbabwe and fight xenophobia-

    The Social Justice Coalition made up of the diverse people of South Africa held a meeting on Wednesday 25 June 2007 to demonstrate their solidarity with victims of rights abuses in Zimbabwe and those of xenophobic attacks.

  • Public Launch of the Social Justice Coalition- As a response to the recent attacks on foreign nationals in Western Cape, individuals from all walks of life have been mobilised in providing humanitarian relief. Lack of faith in the government, city, big business and even civil society has led us to respond individually and voluntarily. The Social Justice Coalition (SJC) is an independent group that believes in freedom, equality, non-violence and a human rights framework that respects among others, the right of every person to life, dignity, and access to health care.
  • Plea by Andrew Feinstein to Mayor Helen Zille-