SA Army chief: ‘HIV positive people can’t do rigorous tasks’

2014-08-14 11:12

Army chief Lieutenant-General Vusumuzi Masondo says people who are HIV positive can’t do rigorous exercise. This is one of the reasons the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) doesn’t employ people infected with the virus.

Speaking to journalists at a breakfast briefing in Tshwane this morning, Masondo said: “Somebody who is HIV positive, that person cannot be expected to undertake some of the rigorous tasks that we are expected to undertake.

“It is therefore in the interests of both the individual and the organisation that the person who is HIV positive must not be subjected to conditions that will make his health situation deteriorate further.”

Two women recruits who lost their jobs because they were HIV positive took the SANDF to court last month, asking for their jobs back.

They argue that the army discriminated against them without taking their personal health and the latest studies into HIV and Aids into account.

Masondo said the SANDF was concerned about the health of all its members.

There has also been an instance of an HIV positive member being deployed to operations outside the country, he said.

But he implied that HIV positive people would not be allowed to enter the SANDF.

“We insist that our members are fit and healthy, but those who are already in the army and contract the disease, we will try to accommodate them,” he said, adding they would be given less rigorous tasks.

» This story was updated after first published

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