South Africa treatment protests go global

Graham McKerrow, HIV i-Base

International protest is being mobilised to protest globally against the South African government’s refusal to provide universal HIV/Aids treatment to its citizens. Some activists spoke with mock nostalgia about returning to picket South African embassies.

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) has launched a campaign of civil disobedience in South Africa to back their demand for a comprehensive treatment plan, said its spokesman Nonkosi Khumalo. They are calling for international demonstrations of support. Khumalo said ANC leaders were showing some arrogance in their attitude towards its campaign.

TAC is taking Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and Trade and Industry Minister Alec Erwin, to court, accusing them of culpable homicide for failing to use state resources to fight the epidemic.

Khumalo said protests including sit-ins at government buildings were planned. One hundred and sixty people were arrested at a protest in Cape Town, but the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal branches of TAC report no arrests because police had refused to arrest people.

“In the next phase of our protests, we are looking at importing generic drugs ourselves and giving them to doctors at public hospitals,” said Khumalo.

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