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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.
The AIDS Law Project (ALP) and Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) condemn the attacks on Mark Heywood by the Department of Health Director General, Thami Mseleku and the national DOH TB cluster manager, David Mametja.
Mseleku, speaking from the floor after a plenary presentation by Heywood, made a personal attack on the presentation, claiming that Heywood had merely swapped his slides from HIV to TB, and that ‘human rights were not relevant to considerations of health policy in a developmental state’.
Mametja, in the closing session of the conference abused his position as co-chair of the conference track on Patient and Civil Society. Instead of reporting on the outcomes of that track he focused solely on attacking Heywood’s presentation of the day before. This was contemptuous of all the people who presented and participated in the track that he co-chaired.
TAC has released two key position papers on TB.
"How does a preventable, curable disease become the leading cause of all natural deaths in SA, and the leading cause of all AIDS-related mortalities on our continent? Well, first we take drug-sensitive TB, a perfectly curable form of tuberculosis, and mismanage it for decades in health structures with poor infection control, weak diagnostic capacity, insufficient education on TB, inadequate resources and minimal political commitment. We observe substandard cure rates and increasing mortality figures. Over time, our poorly functioning TB programmes are manufacturing drug-resistant TB strains — the result of inadequate or incomplete TB treatment — but we don't worry about this too much until multidrug-resistant (MDR) TB explodes in our faces." -- Paula Akugizibwe, AIDS & Rights Alliance for Southern Africa
Kwazulu-Natal Province (KZN) is the epicentre of the South African HIV epidemic. Nearly 40% of pregnant women attending public health facilities in the province are HIV-positive. 16.5% of people over the age of two are infected (South African National HIV Survey, 2005). More than any other province it needs good political leadership on AIDS. But instead the province's MEC for Health, Peggy Nkonyeni, entertains AIDS denialism and is destroying health-care in the province.
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.
The Medicines and Related Substances Amendment Bill, 2008 was formally introduced to Parliament on 17 June 2008. Parliament has called for submissions by 18 July. It will hold public hearings on 5 to 6 August. The Bill is disastrous. It will undermine the scientific governance of medicine and potentially reverse the gains of the recent court victory by TAC and the South African Medical Association in their case against Matthias Rath, the Minister of Health and others.
Here is a letter written to the Head of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health by TAC and the AIDS Law Project (ALP) indicating our intention to make an oral submission to Parliament on the bill and raising our broad concerns with the bill.
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.
This is part of the launch of the Social Justice Coalition, highlighting the continuing political crisis in Zimbabwe and calling on people across South Africa and elsewhere to press the Southern African Development, (SADC), African Union (AU), and the United Nations (UN) to act decisively to end systematic political violence in Zimbabwe and resolve the country’s long-standing political crisis.
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.
About 400 people including TAC members and displaced refugees delivered a memorandum to the Western Cape Provincial Government today.
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.
In response to the recent rape of the six year old daughter of a TAC member in Elandskop, KwaZulu-Natal TAC uMgungundlovu (Pietermaritzburg) marched through Elandskop last week demanding an end to gender-based violence (GBV), sexual assault and rape in the community and asking for improvements in the local criminal justice system. Out of the eight rapes reported in Elandskop this year only one has ended in a conviction.
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.