ISSUED BY BANTU HOLOMISA, MP
UDM welcomes the announcement by the US that they will not take action against
South Africa, if South Africa ignores intellectual property rights to obtain
affordable drugs for HIV/AIDS. This clearly paves the way for government to
provide affordable drugs to South Africans living with HIV/AIDS. In addition to
the immediate health benefits, it also create opportunities for South African
manufacturers of medicine.
The US decision comes amidst a further misguided announcement by the Department
of Education to make provision for home-based teaching of children with
HIV/AIDS. The UDM questions this strange stance as it brings to mind the
dysfunctional treatments used for leprosy. Children should learn about the
realities of their peers who are living with HIV/AIDS and not cocooned from
Another horrific event during this past week was the rape of a 9-month-old baby
by six males. This baby will be undergoing HIV tests this week, as it has also
been brought to light that one of the rapist's wife has recently died of AIDS.
The UDM calls for the protection and nurturing of children living with HIV/AIDS
and sentences equal to that applicable to murderers for a HIV/AIDS-positive
rapist who intentionally rape defenceless victims. There is an urgent need to
beef up the Child Protection Unit, instead of scaling it down.
The New York Times has also sharply criticised Mbeki's stance on HIV/AIDS. Even
though South Africa has the medical capacity to be an international leader in
the fight against HIV/AIDS many of the poor die whilst their constitutional
rights are being ignored because of a President who seems to care more about his
own views than the reality of deaths of thousands.
The UDM calls on the government and the Minister of Health to urgently heed the
mounting international criticism of the President's stance and to settle the
Treatment of Mother-To-Child Transmission case out of court, and to protect our
people. South African must demand proper care and hold the ANC government
responsible for the death of thousands that could have been saved.
The UDM further calls on government to implement a national co-ordinated
programme that includes protecting our children against rape, educating the
nation on HIV/AIDS-related issues and implement policies that take into account
the effect of HIV/AIDS on the economy, social development and the education
system. The government and the ANC must stop vilifying Bishop Ndungane, and
other religious and civil society groups who are genuinely concerned about the
impact of HIV/AIDS.
Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP
05 November 2001