YCL: Mbeki must take rap for Aids 'debacle'

Former president Thabo Mbeki should be held accountable for his role in the HIV/Aids pandemic, the Young Communist League of South Africa (YCLSA) said on Wednesday.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi recently released shocking statistics of the Aids pandemic in South Africa.

“The call to hold our former head of state Thabo Mbeki accountable for his role in this debacle cannot be reduced to a popularity contest,” the league said in a statement.

“Neither should it be classified as vindictive prosecution by the government. It should be a lesson that one must take responsibility for one’s actions.

“It should also be used as a sign that we are turning the tide and strengthening our war against HIV/Aids,” the YCLSA said.

Motsoaledi conceded South Africa was in this “catastrophe because of our attitude towards HIV/Aids”.

“Mbeki denied pregnant mothers antiretroviral drugs, which could have prolonged their lives and reduced mother-to-child transmission. Mbeki cast doubt on the [scientifically established] link between HIV and Aids.

“He made a mockery of our country and failed to provide sound political guidance to a nation in distress.

“Perhaps most bizarre were his questioning of statistics collected from hospitals and clinics, and his assertion that he ‘did not know anyone who had died of Aids’,” the league said.

His attitude inhibited South Africa’s war on HIV/Aids and did not assist the situation or challenge the youth, who were the most affected, to change their behaviour, attitudes and lifestyle to prevent HIV infection.

According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids, in 2005 more than 5,5-million adults, 18,8% of the adult populations of South Africa, were infected with HIV/Aids.

“As the government intensifies the war on HIV/Aids, we need to show that we are prepared to break with the policy of denial and fairytale theories about the treatment and causality of Aids.
To do so, we have to take action and encourage people to take responsibility for their decisions.”

The YCLSA said the option of setting up a state-led judicial commission with prosecutorial powers to determine whether Mbeki “is guilty of mass killing” should be explored.

Another option was convening a commission on HIV/Aids similar to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission “through which victims and perpetrators will receive their respective justice through forgiveness and remorse”.—Sapa

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