Letter to the Speaker of the National Assembly re  Medical Council must address Parliament on AIDS  by Bantu Holomisa - UDM President (18/09/2000)
The Speaker
National Assembly
CAPE TOWN

Dear Madam

MEDICAL COUNCIL MUST ADDRESS PARLIAMENT ON AIDS

This serves to draw your attention and that of Parliament to the continuing confusion and anarchy in our Health Services which has resulted from the Head of government, President Thabo Mbeki, in pursuing a universally discredited scientific view that denies the linkage between HIV and AIDS.

†We had hoped the International Conference on AIDS that was held in Durban earlier in the year had resolved the controversy generated by the President around HIV/AIDS linkage once and for all. The ambivalence of the President utterances in his interview with Time Magazine, his Health Minister Manto Tshabalalaís irritability during her interview and the Cabinet Ministerís non committal stances on the issue are disturbing signs that the education campaign on AIDS especially among our youth has been thrown back several years by the confusion which casts some doubt on the guidelines on sexual conduct based on the recognition of the casual link between HIV and AIDS.†The AIDS scourge threatens not only the lives of the youth of the country, but the very economic lifeline of the nation. It is gross irresponsibility for the leader of a country to mislead his government to become a party to a misguided scientific stance that is calculated to undermine the good work done by qualified, committed and caring AIDS scientist and workers.

†The kind of vanity that drives a political leader to care more about scoring debating points and exalting his intellectual stature rather than eat the humble pie and accept irrefutable scientific evidence is a dangerous weakness that imperils the very existence of the nation.

We call upon the Speaker to use her position to invite the Medical Council and representative and other acknowledged authorities on the subject of AIDS to address parliament and pave the way for an honest and conclusive debate that will put the matter to rest once and for all. We cannot leave this debate in the hands of the ANC outside Parliament while people are dying.

It is worse now, that President Mbeki is leading this anarchy from the front, after he and his party used state monies during the 1999 elections to campaign for HIV/AIDS awareness. This abuse of state resources benefited them more seats in Parliament because they projected themselves as people who would help, the dying South Africans of HIV/AIDS epidemic. There is therefore, a legitimate expectation from the voters of this country for the government to treat sick people from HIV/AIDS diseases.

Much work has to be done to undo the damage, which has been caused by the Presidentís ill-faced intervention and resuscitation of a scientific debate that was already resolved.

Yours sincerely
B Holomisa, MP
President: United Democratic Movement
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