Rath lawyers hit back at DA

Allegations that German vitamin salesperson Matthias Rath is practising as a doctor in South Africa are a “lie”, his lawyers said on Friday.

A lawyer from the firm representing Rath, Zolile Gajana, said in a statement issued on Friday he wanted to respond to “defamatory statements” made by the Democratic Alliance (DA) about Rath.

On Thursday, DA health spokesperson Mike Waters said he was seeking action against the re-opening of Rath’s office in central Cape Town, which was offering products promising the natural control of HIV/Aids.

He said he had complained to the Health Professions Council of South Africa that Rath was depicting himself as a doctor in literature available at his new office.

Waters said he had submitted an application to the Medicines Control Council (MCC) for a copy of its report into Rath’s activities in Khayelitsha.

He said this report investigated events in September 2005 when Rath set up two clinics in Khayelitsha and was offering HIV-positive people food parcels to convince them to give up their antiretrovirals and take his vitamin C supplements instead.

On Friday, Gajana said the offices Waters was referring to were not new but ones Rath moved into in November 2006.

Gajana said that when Matthias Rath called himself “Dr Rath”, this was a reference to a PHD doctorate he had obtained and his position as a researcher, not a medical doctor.

It was the South African National Civic Organisation, and not the Rath Foundation, which operated a nutritional-supplementation programme in Khayelitsha.

“The Rath Foundation provided vitamins free of charge for this programme.

“The allegation that Dr Rath offered food parcels to people in Khayelitsha to convince them to give up antiretrovirals is factually incorrect and defamatory,” Gajana said.—Sapa

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