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

12 June 2007


Letter by Achmat and Mthathi to Government Ministers on dismissal of health workers

12 June 2007
Per Fax (to follow by registered mail):

Ms. Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi
Minister of Public Service and Administration
(012) 336 1810 and (021) 465 5484

Dr. Mantombazana Tshabalala-Msimang
Minister of Health
(012) 325 5526 and (021) 465 1575

Mr. Pierre Uys
MEC for Health, Western Cape
(021) 483 4143

Dear Ministers,


The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) is appalled by yesterday’s dismissal of public sector workers especially nurses because the dismissal further undermines the right to health caused by unfair service conditions for all workers in the health sector.

For example, the unfair and sudden dismissal of 41 health care workers from the Khayelitsha day hospitals has caused great disruption to the limited health services in the township which serves more than 500 000 people. Of the dismissed Khayelitsha nurses, 30 are workers from one facility, the Site B day hospital. The rest are from Michael Mapongwana and Nolungile Community Health Centres (10 and 1 worker dismissed respectively).

The Department of Health of the Western Cape had announced the immediate dismissal of 75 health workers in the province. That decision in itself was sustained on poor arguments given the current climate of a legitimate strike of civil servants and the ongoing negotiations between unions and the government.  But it is completely disproportionate that more than half of the health workers dismissed are serving the same population, and most of them, the same facility.

The list of workers targeted does not follow any rationale that will be sustained in court, which proves that there has not been any proper investigation on the individual names included.

Government action to dismiss nurses in Western Cape and across the country is unlawful because:

1. It  removes the only health service from people who need it without alternatives in place;

2. TB and HIV/AIDS services are severely interrupted because of the dismissals now undermining the limited services provided;

3. It hampers the possibility of maintaining a limited service in emergency settings, and for other chronic care;

4. The decision to dismiss was not done on the basis of a fair process;

5. The state has failed over more than a decade to negotiate what constitutes essential services;

6. The human resources crisis in health care caused by poor conditions, increased workloads and failure to develop and implement a reasonable human resource plan for health has led to a legitimate strike; and

7. It unjustifiably limits the right to strike; it inflames and may prolong the strike action.

TAC has approached the unions to ensure that there is no disruption of chronic and emergency services. We oppose any disruption of such services.

We ask government to settle the wage negotiations with the unions as a matter of urgency. We also urge government to withdraw the unfair dismissal notices immediately. Because the situation is one of emergency, the TAC will join patients who are affected in an urgent interdict. We can be reached at the numbers below to settle the matter at any time.

Yours faithfully

Sipho Mthathi                    Zackie Achmat
General Secretary             Chairperson
Ph 084-300-7007                 Ph 082-516-8873

Prof. Craig Househam
Head of Department: Health Services, Western Cape
(021) 483 5677

Dr. Keith Cloete
Principal Director of Primary Health Services, Western Cape
(021) 483 9921


Press statement by the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society on interrupting antiretrovirals and other HIV-related drugs

Issued by: The Southern African HIV Clinicians Society

Date: Tuesday 21 June 2007

The South African Public Sector strike has meant that many public sector patients with HIV may or already have had their treatment interrupted. This applies to antiretrovirals, as well as opportunistic illness treatment.

Interruption of treatment should be dealt with in the following manner:

About the SA HIV Clinicians Society: See


3rd South African AIDS Conference 5-8 June 2007

Conference Resolutions

Resolution 1:

Call for Urgent and Successful Resolution of Public Sector Strike

Health care workers are the backbone of our country’s response to HIV/AIDS. Without their passion, skill and commitment we will not be able to implement the NSP. Public sector workers generally knit and hold together the fabric of our society. Without them our communities fail. Without them we cannot deliver social security grants, security or education.

We believe our government is committed to the public sector. The principles of Batho Pele and the importance the NSP attaches to human resources are proof of this. In the light of this we call on the Government to find an amicable settlement to this strike.

This conference also believes that public sector workers deserve to work for salaries and in conditions that are consistent with their dignity. Significant and increasing investment in and commitment to these employees will help us to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and its social causes.

Conference delegates are deeply concerned by the pain and sense of demoralization expressed by these workers. We reach out to them and express solidarity and sympathy. We also support their calls for a salary increase that will meet real needs and incentivise these essential professions.

We therefore call for the strike to be settled urgently and on terms deemed acceptable to both sides.

Resolution 2:

Support for SANAC Deputy-Chair

Echoing the Deputy President’s commitment to this conference:  We give our full support to the NSP, the restructured SANAC, and we are particularly confident of the leadership that the Deputy Chairperson elect Mark Heywood will provide.  He has our trust as a builder of consensus and maintaining principle.

Resolution 3:

Support for Africans in Britain who are being deported for being HIV positive

This conference is concerned about reports that refugees, asylum seekers and migrants with HIV who are on treatment are deported by the government of the United Kingdom to our countries where there is no universal access to treatment.  We ask our Ministry of Foreign Affairs to raise this human rights violation.  As civil society, researchers and clinicians, we extend our support to the campaign to end this injustice.

Conference Declaration

Download the conference declaration (PDF on TAC website).