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.


For Widest Distribution



         TAC Response to Cabinet Statement

         Cabinet Statement






8 August 2003



There is cause for celebration and optimism.  Government has decided to provide anti-retroviral therapy in the public sector in South Africa. 


The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) welcomes the Cabinet's instruction to the Department of Health to develop an operational plan within one month to provide ARVs in the public sector.  The Cabinet endorsed the findings of the Joint Health and Treasury Task Team Report that between 500 000 and 1.7 million lives will be saved with anti-retroviral therapy. It also reaffirmed the science of HIV/AIDS pathogenesis and treatment.


This is a critical step to develop a more comprehensive treatment and prevention plan for managing the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Properly implemented, this will restore hope, dignity and life for millions of people in our country, and, hope throughout the continent. This will also give doctors, nurses and communities the opportunity to work together with government to build a better health care system that meets the needs of all people in South Africa.


The TAC National Executive will formally suspend the civil disobedience campaign and reconsider pending litigation early next week.  We welcome Cabinet's bold step today but we also remember the anguish, pain and unnecessary loss of lives over the last four years.


The end of policy and political vacillation reveals the real hard work to all of us. TAC pledges to put its full weight and support behind the successful implementation of all interventions aimed at alleviating the HIV epidemic. We will work with government to save lives and build a better health service.  The private sector, drug companies, civil society, international agencies and individuals need to redouble our efforts to improve prevention, treatment and care.  We salute the efforts of every person living with HIV/AIDS, doctors, nurses, scientists, government administrators and all people who contributed to the report and the struggle for a treatment and prevention plan. Let's get to work!




Cabinet Statement





Cabinet today convened in a special meeting to consider the Report of the Joint Health and Treasury Task Team on treatment options to enhance comprehensive care for HIV/AIDS in the public sector. A summary of the Report can be found on the government website, The full Report will be posted on the website early next week.


The Report deals with various challenges, including in particular, a programme to administer anti-retrovirals to enhance the quality of life of those who have reached an advanced stage of the Syndrome, and it proposes various scenarios in dealing with this matter. The Report proceeds from the premise that new developments pertaining to prices of drugs, the growing body of knowledge on this issue, wide appreciation of the role of nutrition, and availability of budgetary resources do enable government to consider this enhanced response.


The meeting reiterated government's principled approach that antiretroviral drugs do help improve the quality of life of those at a certain stage of the development of AIDS, if administered properly.


Further, Cabinet noted that, as we consider details pertaining to this enhanced treatment programme, it is critical that we do not lower our guard as a nation, because there is no cure for AIDS.


It also noted the assertions in the Report that a primary challenge in our situation is to ensure that the 40 million South Africans who are not infected with HIV stay that way; and that those who are infected but have not as yet progressed to an advanced stage of AIDS lead a normal life through proper nutrition, healthy lifestyles and treatment of opportunistic infections. In other words, not everyone who is infected with HIV would need antiretroviral treatment.


Cabinet decided that the Department of Health should, as matter of urgency, develop a detailed operational plan on an antiretroviral treatment programme. The Department will be assisted in this work by South African experts as well as specialists from the Clinton Foundation AIDS Initiative who have not only offered to contribute to this effort; but have also been of great assistance in commenting on the work done thus far.


It is expected that this detailed work would be completed by the end of September 2003.


Government shares the impatience of many South Africans on the need to strengthen the nation's armoury in the fight against AIDS. Cabinet will therefore ensure that the remaining challenges are addressed with urgency; and that the final product guarantees a programme that is effective and sustainable.


8 August 2003


Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)