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.

Treatment Action Campaign

News Items for 2004

20 February 2004

TAC Newsletter

New TAC Newsletter containing:

  • Announcement of public meeting to discuss antiretroviral treatment rollout
  • Memorandum from TAC and ALP sent to NEDLAC and  the Trade Negotiator for South Africa on US/SACU free trade agreement negotiations
  • Memorandum from TAC and ALP sent to NEDLAC and  the Trade Negotiator for South Africa on US/SACU free trade agreement negotiations
  • Text of TAC advert appearing in Newspapers
  • Letter from TAC to head of Procurement Negotiating Teambr>, Dr. Humphrey Zokufa
  • Job advertisements for two new positions at the AIDS Law Project

27 May 2004

Build a People's Health System: People's Health Summit, East London
2 to 4 July 2004

TAC Newsletter:

  • Details of the People's Health Summit
  • A Tale of Two Systems
  • Objectives of the People's Health Summit
  • International Solidarity
  • Draft Agenda for the People's Health Summit

24 May 2004

TAC Releases Annual Report

The Treatment Action Campaign's annual report for the period March 2003 to February 2004 is available here.

20 May 2004

Mobilise to Build a Better Public Health Service: Resolutions of TAC National Executive Committee Meeting - 14 to 15 May 2004

TAC Newsletter:

  • Progress of the Antiretroviral Rollout
  • People's Health Summit
  • Call for International Day of Action to Tell the Bush Administration: "Invest in GLOBAL Health - Not War!"
  • Mobilising Districts for a Better Health System

2 May 2004

TAC Extends Condolences to Buthelezi Family upon death of Prince Nelisuzulu Buthelezi of AIDS-related illnesses

TAC Newsletter:

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) extends its condolences to Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, his wife, Princess Irene Buthelezi and their family on the premature loss of their son Prince Nelisuzulu Buthulezi who died of AIDS-related illnesses.

The openness displayed by the Buthelezi family will reverberate throughout KwaZulu-Natal, the province worst affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and beyond. Following the example of the late Comrade Walter Sisulu, Comrade Albertina Sisulu and their family, as well as, Mrs. Graca Machel and former President Nelson Mandela who disclosed the AIDS-related deaths in their families, Chief Buthelezi's openness sets an example for every family faced with bereavement in this epidemic.
Read the full statement here.

28 April 2004

The Cabinet: A Chance to Start Afresh in the Health Sector

TAC Newsletter:

The Treatment Action Campaign welcomes the appointment of President Mbeki's new Cabinet.

Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang has been reappointed as Health Minister. Her team now includes Deputy-Minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge as a deputy-health minister. We welcome the new appointment. Our relationship with the national Health Ministry has been fraught with tension and confrontation. This is a chapter in our history that we wish to put behind us. Our work with MECs, health departments at national, provincial, district and facility level can only be strengthened with a commitment to delivery.
Read the full statement here.

21 April 2004

TAC Electronic Newsletter

TAC Newsletter:

  • Statement on South African Elections - ANC Receives Mandate to Deliver on Health, Employment, Social Grants, Education and Housing
  • Report on Public Meetings to Mobilise for Treatment Rollout - February to April 2004
  • Letters Sent to Premiers and Provincial MECs for Health for Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and North-West Expressing Concern on Slow Pace of Rollout and Requesting Information on Treatment Rollout in these Provinces
  • Standoff Between Doctors and Health Ministry on Dispensing - Article by Jonathan Berger and Fatima Hassan published in ThisDay, 20 April 2004

25 March 2004

Condemn the Threats by NAPWA Against AIDS Activists

TAC Newsletter:

  • Condemn the Threats by NAPWA Against AIDS Activists
  • AIDS Consortium Statement Regarding NAPWA Disruption of General Meeting

25 March 2004

TAC Electronic Newsletter

TAC Newsletter:

  • MinMEC Agrees to Interim Procurement of Antiretroviral Medicines - Court Action Averted at Last Minute
  • ALP and TAC to Present Submission on Pricing Regulations to Pricing Committee Tomorrow
  • Resolutions of the PATAM Conference, "Scaling Up Access to Treatment in Southern Africa: A Way Forward."
  • AIDS Law Project Wins Department of Trade and Industry Consumer Champions Award for Civil Society 2003

19 March 2004

Minister of Health Delays Again

TAC Newsletter: On 10 March 2004, the Treatment Action Campaign formally demanded that the Minister of Health procure and emergency interim supply of antiretroviral medicines immediately. We warned that the failure to meet the deadline of 18 March 2004 would lead to urgent litigation. Read the press statement and TAC's response to the unsatisfactory reply from the Acting Director General here.

16 March 2004

TAC Sends Letter of Demand to the Minister of Health

TAC Newsletter: To date, there are less than 2,500 people on the national ARV programme country-wide - and nearly all of them are in the Western Cape. The National Department of Health has admitted that it will miss its target for the end of March.

TAC believes the primary reason for the failure to meet this target is the Minister of Health's lack of political will. Her justification for delaying treatment is that the tender process for antiretroviral medicines is not complete and therefore these medicines will only be available in the public health system by the end of June.

But there are mechanisms in South African law allowing for emergency procurement without tender that the minister could use to secure an interim supply of ARVs. The TAC demands that the Minister does so.

13 March 2004

TAC Expresses Condolences to the Family of Transport Minister Dullah Omar

TAC Newsletter: The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) expresses its condolences to Farida Omar and the family of Dullah Omar, South African Minister of Transport and Anti-Apartheid Lawyer. Minister Omar died early Saturday morning of Hodgkins Disease.

9 March 2004

TAC and AIDS Law Project submission to the Jali Commission

In prison, HIV/AIDS exacerbates existing problems and also creates new ones, yet the potential for far-reaching positive impact remains. Prisons are an intervention opportunity to reach a segment of the population, which is most likely to need government services related to HIV/AIDS and is also least likely to receive them through any other channel. Without an appropriate response to HIV/AIDS in prisons, the potential consequences will be increasingly tragic for both prisoners and the communities they come from. In this submission to the Jali Commission into prisons, TAC and the ALP point to the strengths and weaknesses of current policy and where changes must be made as well as how implementation can be improved.

5 March 2004

TAC/ALP Submission on Draft Pricing Regulations

The AIDS Law Project (ALP) and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) welcome the opportunity to make written submissions on the draft pricing regulations. Again we express our support for the implementation of a transparent pricing system, which we believe has the potential significantly to increase access to affordable medicines for all people in South Africa.

While we recognise and support the principled basis underpinning the draft regulations, we are nevertheless of the view that in a number of key respects, the draft regulations do not give full and proper effect to the National Drug Policy of 1996, the Medicines and Related Substances Control Amendment Act, 90 of 1997, and most important, the constitutional right of access to health care services. If implemented in their current form, we believe the draft regulations will fall short of discharging the stateÕs positive constitutional obligations in respect of promoting the right of access to essential medicines. It is in respect of such matters that this submission is primarily concerned, particularly the failure of the draft regulations to give sufficient content and force to the transparent pricing mechanism in respect of pharmaceutical manufacturers. Read the full submission.

2 March 2004

Mechanisms for Minister to Purchase Emergency Interim Supply of Antiretroviral Medicines

TAC Newsletter: The Minister of Health can and must immediately procure antiretroviral medicines for the treatment rollout. A brief explanation is included, as well as:

  • Procurement timetable presented by Nono Simelela to Parliament
  • Sindiswa Moya's letter to the Sunday Times
  • Minister of Health's response to Sindiswa Moya
  • Announcements of public meetings on the rollout of antiretroviral treatment in Cape Town, Makhado (Louis Trichard), Nelspruit and Polokwane and of the Pan African Treatment Access Movement Conference in Harare.

15 February 2004

TAC and AIDS Law Project seminar on health system transformation

On the 10th of February, the TAC and the AIDS Law project held a joint seminar on transformation of the South African Health System, including both the public and private sectors. This is part of preparations for a conference to be held in May with the aim of developing detailed policy positions for TAC's Campaign for a People's Health Service. Presentations made at the workshop can be found here.

11 February 2004

President Mbeki Misrepresents Facts and Once Again Causes Confusion on HIV/AIDS

TAC Newsletter: The TAC has strongly welcomed the government's operational treatment plan for HIV/AIDS of November 2003. We also welcome the efforts being made by some provincial governments, including Kwazulu-Natal, Gauteng and Western Cape, to implement this plan. However, we are alarmed that this progress and the efforts of national and provincial government health departments and officials are being undermined by inaccurate comments by President Mbeki and Minister of Health, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. For example, in a live interview broadcast on 8 February, President Mbeki stated that no studies have been done using death data to determine AIDS deaths and that the only reliable death statistics we have are for road accident deaths. This is untrue. Read the full statement here.

5 February 2004

TAC to Minister of Health: Hands off Health-Care Workers!

TAC Newsletter: Tomorrow, the South African Medical Association will lead doctors on a march to the Opening of Parliament in Cape Town. While the The Treatment Action Campaign has not endorsed the march, it supports the demands of public sector health-care workers for better working conditions, including an end to post freezes, better remuneration and greater availability of medicines and diagnostics in clinics and hospitals. The TAC notes with concern media reports that the Minister of Health has threatened disciplinary action against doctors who participate in tomorrow's march. The TAC says that any health-care workers who have action taken against them for participating in tomorrow's march will have the full support of our organisation. Read the full statement here. ddtest

4 February 2004

TAC/ALP Discussion Paper on Traditional Medicine Released

A joint Treatment Action Campaign/AIDS Law Project discussion paper on Traditional Medicine prepared by Marlise Richter of the ALP has been released. The document is available in PDF format in the research section of the TAC website.

27 January 2004

Build a People's Health Service! - Resolutions of the TAC NEC

TAC Newsletter: The TAC National Executive Committee (NEC) met in Cape Town on 26 and 27 January.  Representatives from TAC branches, Medecins Sans Frontieres, the AIDS Consortium, the South African Medical Association (SAMA), religious organizations, trade union federations and TAC funders participated in the meeting. Resolutions were passed on a number of issues. The most urgent of these are a campaign for a People's Health Service and actions to speed up Government's rollout of the operational treatment plan. Resolutions were also passed regarding the upcoming SAMA march to the opening of Parliament, prevention issues and the Yfm "Test Yourself" campaign to be launched following the death of Fana "Khabzela" Khaba.

21 January 2004

Essential Antiretroviral for Children is Out of Stock

TAC Newsletter: Efavirenz (Stocrin) is an essential antiretroviral patented in South Africa by MSD, a subsidiary of Merck & Co, the world's largest pharmaceutical company. At least one patient has defaulted following shortages of the paediatric formulation of efavirenz (Stocrin 50mg). In response, the Treatment Action Campaign has sent the letter included in the newsletter above to MSD. Furthermore, the TAC will hold a picket outside MSD's South African offices on 2 Februrary demanding that the company gives non-exclusive voluntary licences on a 5% royalty fee basis to any generic manufacturer that meets objective criteria for quality and manufacturing standards.

20 January 2004

Rian Malan Spreads Confusion about AIDS Statistics

TAC Newsletter: Rian Malan's articles, in Noseweek and The Spectator, arguing that AIDS statistics are grossly exaggerated, have numerous technical errors, writes Nathan Geffen (TAC National Manager). One which appears in Noseweek and upon which most of his case with regard to the South African epidemic rests is so serious and obvious that it raises questions about Malan's basic competence as a research journalist -- or more disturbingly -- about his motives and integrity.

Rian Malan has responded to Nathan's response to his articles in Noseweek and The Spectator. This Postscript makes some comments on his response. The balance of evidence now shows that Malan's errors were dishonest.