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.


TAC Electronic Newsletter

4 April 2005


Mass meeting of TAC Western Cape members resolves to encourage people to get treated and to stop charlatans like Matthias Rath. TAC is encouraged by efforts of Deputy-Minister of Health Madlala-Routledge.

New regular feature: A community story as told by TAC members. In today's story, Zanele Mncube tells about the health-care problems faced in Mpophomeni Kwazulu-Natal and what is being done by the community to improve things.

Number of people on treatment in South African public sector at end of January: 32 385 (source: Dept. Health)

Mass meeting of TAC Western Cape members resolves to encourage people to get treated and to stop charlatans like Matthias Rath

TAC is encouraged by efforts of Deputy-Minister of Health Madlala-Routledge

Over 500 TAC supporters gathered at the Gugulethu Sports Stadium on 31 March to discuss increasing the takeup of antiretroviral treatment. A key theme of the meeting was the confusion being caused by Matthias Rath and Anthony Brink who scare people out of starting treatment and cause their deaths.

Xolani Tsalong, TAC national organiser explained that there should not be confusion about antiretrovirals. The Medicines Control Council has approved them and it is government policy to make them accessible to people who need them.

Nombasa Rune, an HIV counsellor, explained how she has seen the positive effects of treatment in her work and how one can see in clinics and hospitals people with HIV who are well and on treatment and people who are sick and not on treatment.

Nurse Matangana explained that antiretrovirals had been proven in scientific tests. Their benefits and side-effects were well understood. She explained that multivitamins are offered free in clinics. There was no need for people to take Matthias Rath's expensive multivitamins which are unproven and whose side-effects we do not know.

Mandla Majola, TAC Khayelitsha Organiser, told the gathering that Deputy-Minister of Health Madlala-Routledge had apologised personally to the TAC secretariat for not being able to attend, which was appreciated. He said that TAC is very encouraged by the efforts of the deputy-minister to ensure the antiretroviral rollout is a success and that the public health-care system is improved.

Mark Heywood, TAC treasurer, told the story of his friend and NAPWA staff member Daisy Sikhale who was too scared to start antiretroviral treatment because of the confusion created about antiretrovirals. Two weeks ago Heywood attended her funeral, which could have been avoided if Daisy had started treatment.

Madlamini Skaap, a traditional healer and member of the Traditional Healers' Organisation (THO), said that TAC must put pressure on the Medical Research Council to test traditional medicines. She emphasised that TAC and the THO must meet and talk.


A community story as told by a TAC member

This is a new regular feature in TAC electronic newsletters. In most newsletters, we will now publish a story told by a TAC member. These stories will cover a variety of topics, but we hope that readers will find them informative and interesting. The stories are researched and written entirely by the authors, some of whom are on a TAC educational programme teaching journalism skills. The sole contribution of the TAC News Service to these articles is to edit for length, spelling and grammar, or to occasionally make stylistic recommendations to the authors.

TAC reduces dying of people and stigmatization in Mpophomeni

By Zanele Mncube

Mpophomeni is an urban area under the Umgeni Municipality in Kwazulu-Natal. The population is about 200 000. There is a high rate of unemployment but Mpophomeni is a nice place. We have a community hall for clinics and meeting, we have schools, crèches, a library and churches. Mpophomeni is divided into wards and each ward has a councillor.

In the early 90s women were trying to survive by staying at hostels with people from different places. That is when HIV started to spread rapidly – but at that time no one knew about HIV. It was also a time of political violence and people believed that if you had an enemy you should go to traditional healers for potions to strengthen you. They were using one blade for everyone and that also increased HIV.

When people started dying is when we started to form awareness groups to educate people about HIV and AIDS. In 1999 I joined an organisation called Friends for Life which deals with HIV and AIDS in the community, doing home-based care and counselling. And that is when I started to hear about TAC. Then in 2003 Zakhele Xaba explained everything about TAC. I was interested because I was living with HIV concerns – I was living with people who were living with HIV. So I decided to join TAC to get more information about HIV and AIDS and the treatment including antiretroviral drugs.

TAC changed the situation in my community because once people knew that antiretrovirals (ARVs) can help, they started to talk openly about HIV and AIDS. And as a member of TAC I try as much as I can to educate people. I work in the community diseases clinic as a volunteer. I attend classes, do counselling and I help support groups.

We have only one part-time doctor and two nurses. There are lots of people waiting for their treatment and the accommodation is not enough There is one room for the doctor and another room for nurses and we do counselling and everything else in one room. Shortage of staff causes many people to wait for a very long time before they can be seen and this is delaying the whole process of the roll-out. We don’t have the final statistics but since last year about 108 people have started ARVs. There are about 400 people on the waiting list and delaying of the roll-out is a really serious problem in the community.