‘Mbeki debates delayed SA’s respose to combat HIV/Aids’

2016-03-17 12:00

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Mbeki quotes himself on two South Africas: black and white

2016-03-15 14:57

Former President Thabo Mbeki quoted himself speaking about two countries, black and white, during a speech on racism and nation building.WATCH

Pietermaritzburg - The “endless” debate on whether HIV causes Aids, which took place during the tenure of Thabo Mbeki as the president of the country, denied “South Africans a decisive and timely response that could have combated the disease”.

This is how ANC provincial chairperson Sihle Zikalala reflected on the time when Mbeki courted controversy with his view that HIV does not cause Aids.

Zikalala was speaking during the launch of a series of talks the provincial ANC has organised to respond to letters that have been published by Mbeki recently.

Zikalala said many years had been spent debating whether HIV causes Aids, when leaders should have been debating policies that could have contained the disease.

“Political leaders spent an amount of time propagating and pronouncing on medical scientific matters on which they were neither experts nor involved in their research,” he said.

Zikalala said the collective leadership of the ANC at that time should take responsibility for the prolonged debate, saying people had not voted for Mbeki to be the president, but had rather voted for the ANC.

However, a panelist, Professor Ashwin Desai, differed with Zikalala’s stance.

“Mbeki’s face was there on the ballot paper and people voted for him,” he said.

Zikalala said the provincial ANC leadership would address the neoliberal policies that emerged under Mbeki’s leadership in the next six talks.

He said leaders should avoid employing the “I know it all” approach, adding that it was “also the duty of those around leadership to advise leaders when they have taken wrong decisions”, without fear of how their advice will be taken.

Zikalala blamed people who joined the ANC for material gain for the recent violence that has emerged, relating to alleged irregularities in the process of nominating councillor candidates. He also alleged that some people contesting nominations were not card-carrying ANC members.

• sabelo.nsele@witness.co.za

Read more on:    thabo mbeki  |  aids  |  hiv

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