DA objects to ANC taking credit for turning around HIV/Aids policy

2016-05-04 22:19
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Cape Town - It was a disgrace that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was letting the ANC take credit for providing anti-retrovirals to HIV-positive people, DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen said in Parliament on Wednesday.

"It's an absolute disgrace, colleagues, a disgrace that they can try and take credit for the ARV fight."

He said just as the ANC was not doing anything about President Jacob Zuma, it had "sat on its hands" when then president Thabo Mbeki resisted the provision of ARVs to HIV-positive people.

He said the Mbeki administration's decision led to deaths of 300 000 people "because it did not have the guts to take on the president”.

Steenhuisen was referring to Mbeki's resistance to the introduction of ARVs on the grounds that there was no proof that HIV caused Aids.

Mbeki felt that poverty was the true cause of Aids and believed that alleviating this and proving proper nutrition was a better approach.

Lobby group the Treatment Action Campaign secured a Constitutional Court judgment to force the government of the day and then-health minister, Manto Tshabalala, to allow the provision of ARVs.

The government has since introduced ARVs and has been lauded for its programme, with the arrival of Aaron Motsoaledi as health minister heralding an about-turn in its approach.

Turning his attention to Zuma, Steehhuisen said the president had undermined Parliament and treated the house with contempt.

"There is no bridge that this president won't double cross to protect himself.

"On August 3 voters can have the opportunity to chop the ugly head of impunity, and chop it they will," he said as the debate on the budget vote for the presidency came to a close.

Read more on:    da  |  cyril rama­phosa  |  cape town  |  politics  |  hiv/aids  |  parliament 2016

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