Aids centre ordered to stop work

2007-12-08 00:00

A new organisation supported by U.S. celebrities has caused controversy in northern KwaZulu-Natal, prompting the question: is there enough co-ordination of donor funding of HIV/Aids?

An organisation that was launched a few weeks ago in northern KwaZulu-Natal by Charlize Theron, with support from Oprah’s Angels Network and the U.S. government, had been asked by the traditional authority in the area to stop its operations.

In early August, the Mpukunyoni Traditional Council took a resolution that Mpilonhle “is not allowed and must not continue with its operation and functions in the Mpukunyoni areas of jurisdiction”.

According to the traditional council, Mpilonhle — which offers mobile health screening and computer training for school children — started to work in the area without seeking the council’s approval.

But more importantly, according to the council’s resolution, there is a “bitter fight” between Mpilonhle and a large local research institute, the Africa Centre, and the two “must resolve their differences first before Mpilonhle could be allowed”.

Mpukunyoni is the largest of four traditional authority areas in the Hlabisa area, while the Africa Centre was set up 10 years ago by the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), the Medical Research Council and the UK based charity, the Wellcome Trust. The Africa Centre, which in the past year has become part of UKZN’s College of Health Sciences, employs almost 400 people and has an annual budget in the region of R60 million. Its work includes support for HIV anti-retroviral treatment in the district, and HIV prevention and demographic research.

Since the Mpukunyoni Traditional Council took its resolution against Mpilonhle, the local inkosi and council chairperson, MM Mkwanzai, has died. His deputy, Councillor MC Zungu, says that Mpilonhle has “defied the traditional authority council”. — Health-e News Service.

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