03 April 2009

ANC to apologise for Aids policies

The ANC accepts "collective responsibility" for the policies and programmes of past administrations since 1994, it said on Friday.


The ANC accepts "collective responsibility" for the policies and programmes of past administrations since 1994, it said on Friday.

The ruling party was reacting to a report in The Times that the party intended to apologise to the nation for former president Thabo Mbeki's policy on HIV/Aids which was blamed for the death of thousands.

"It accepts collective responsibility for both the achievements and shortcomings of successive ANC administrations since 1994," spokeswoman Jessie Duarte said in a statement which noted the media reports but did not say whether an apology could be expected.

The party intended prioritising the implementation of the National Strategic Plan 2007-2011 on HIV and Aids.

The Times report said there were discussions on a proposal within the ANC alliance about the need for MP's who served under Mbeki to apologise for not publicly questioning his denialist views on HIV and Aids.

'We failed to rise up'
"We owe it to the nation. We, as MPs, were there and we failed to rise up," the paper said, quoting an ANC MP which it did not name.

The proposal would see an ANC parliamentary ad-hoc committee, composed of MPs, drawing up the apology to the nation. The party would work to expand access to treatment, care and support to 80% of all HIV-positive people and their families, Duarte said.

"As the ANC's 2009 manifesto says, the ANC will work to reduce the rate of new HV infections by half by 2011 through an aggressive prevention campaign." – (Sapa, April 2009)

Read more:
Aids policies cost 330 000 lives


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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria in 2005. She is a patients' rights activist and loves using social media to teach about HIV. She is in private practice in Johannesburg.

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