UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE

GOVERNMENT'S COMMITMENT TO THE FIGHT AGAINST HIV/AIDS TO BE TESTED IN COURT

STATEMENT ISSUED BY STATEMENT ISSUED BY ANNELIZÉ VAN WYK, MP
UDM CAUCUS LIAISON OFFICER

In light of the alarming increase of infants who have contracted HIV/AIDS from their mothers and the fact that 70 000 children are born HIV positive annually, the UDM supports the South African Treatment Action Campaign's intention to take government to court. It is ironic that the very people who acted in support of government in the court case against pharmaceutical companies now have to take government to court to enforce the implementation of that victory.

The ANC government's inability or unwillingness to deal with this pandemic is highlighted by the continuing refusal to provide HIV/AIDS treatment, such as nevirapine and AZT to pregnant women because of objections over costs, safety and a lack of infrastructure. President Mbeki's non-attendance of the UN summit on HIV/AIDS further reflects the government's warped priorities. The UDM has written to the Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan, to indicate our concerns, especially regarding what we perceive as a violation of human rights on the part of government for refusing HIV/AIDS treatment to pregnant women. South Africa's influence in the region and the continent, means that its procrastination on the HIV/AIDS issue, could well be interpreted by future generations as a violation of the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

The UDM strongly urges government to recognise this horrible disease as the most serious threat to Africa in the new millennium. Furthermore, the UDM remains committed to the fight against HIV/AIDS, as we strongly believe that the fight against HIV/AIDS is the responsibility of every South African. Every effort and resource must be applied to the prevention of, and the fight against, this pandemic.

Enquiries:
Annelizé van Wyk MP
UDM Caucus Liaison Officer
082 557 4184

Cape Town
27 June 2001.