World Aids Day: TAC still needed

| GroundUp Staff
Bambi Kellermann (satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys) did a condom demonstration at the #savetac event in Johannesburg on Monday, World Aids Day. Photo by John Stephens.

About 200 people gathered at The Orbit in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, on World Aids Day in support of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC). The TAC is trying to raise R30million for 2015 in order to continue doing its work.

Attendees and participants included activists, nurses, doctors, scientists, trade union leaders and lawyers, as well as judges Edwin Cameron and Johan Kriegler, who played a central role in fighting the South Africa HIV epidemic in the early 2000s, and succeeded in getting government to provide ARVs.

Justice Cameron paid tribute to Zwelinzima Vavi for supporting the TAC and speaking out against Thabo Mbeki’s refusal, when he was the country’s president, to provide treatment.

Equal Education donated R50,000 and called upon other civil society organisations to do likewise.

Former General Secretary Vuyiseka Dubula and SECTION27 director Mark Heywood warned of the ongoing challenge to the health system and the continued need for the TAC. Heywood said that South Africa is only half way across the river. The problem is not merely to swim to the other side, but to stop being pushed back.

Hazel Tau, first applicant in a famous TAC legal victory against the pharmaceutical industry in 2003, spoke about how thanks to TAC she learned much about law and the economics around HIV. The victory in her complaint to the competition commission paved the way for a dramatic reduction in the prices of antiretroviral. Tau also thanked the anonymous benefactor who began sponsoring her treatment at a time when it was not available from government.

Nathan Geffen, editor of GU, is a former staff and secretariat member of TAC.

TOPICS:  Civil Society Health HIV

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