The latest comments by President Mbeki regarding HIV/AIDS is conclusive proof that this man does not deserve to lead South Africa. His letter to the Minister of Health questioning social spending on HIV/AIDS should serve as the final verdict on his incompetence and incapability to look after the best interests of the country.

The fact is that HIV/AIDS is a major cause of death in SA. Tabling outdated statistics, which do not even recognise the link between TB and HIV/AIDS is irresponsible. The UDM said the following shortly after Mbeki's recent BBC interview where these strange ideas first surfaced:

"[Firstly] it is disingenuous to play down the horrific scale of suffering and death that HIV/AIDS wreaks on South Africa. Secondly, it is disappointing that the President of the country would only admit to the astronomical rate of violence and murder in SA, in an effort to divert attention from another of his ill-considered positions. His claims that he cannot ignore this violence to attend to the (supposedly lesser?) matter of HIV/AIDS. He claims to be concerned about the level of violence in this society, but what is it that he and his government have done to address violence and crime?"

The arrogant tone of Mbeki's letter, and the carelessness with which he recommends reprioritising the budget on social spending, is cause for grave concern. The Internet has greater influence on government spending than the voices of millions of South Africans. Why is Parliament not consulted on the proposed amendment of the single most important aspect of the national budget? The time is long overdue for South Africans to consider whether this man has the moral authority to govern, and whether the ANC can still claim custodianship of the Constitution and the social delivery that it guarantees. If he has such powers to reprioritise spending why does he not ask the Defence Minister to reprioritise the ill-considered spending of billions on arms? The answer is that he is clearly obsessed with the AIDS conspiracy theory. We cannot be led by a sympathiser of the AIDS dissidents. South Africa cannot tolerate leaders who lead us into anarchy.

Bantu Holomisa, MP
UDM President
082 552 4156

Cape Town
10 September 2001