State’s ‘bad administration’ could force TAC to close its doors

Aids lobby group, the Treatment Action Campaign, faces possible closure in January because of a lack of funds, the organisation said on Wednesday.

“As a grant-funded organisation we just cannot afford to run a deficit … besides the fact that over 230 activist organisers will lose their income, the closure of TAC would be a setback for South African democracy,” it said in a statement.

The TAC depends on a five-year grant from the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculoses and Malaria (GFATM) for a large portion of its work.

In July, the organisation failed to receive its R6.5-million payment.

“Primarily due to poor administration by the primary recipient [of the payment], the national department of health, the payment … continues to be delayed,” it said.

If the funds were not paid in by the first week of January, the organisation would go into an unsustainable deficit by February.

“[This] means that we would have to retrench all our staff and close our offices at the end of January,” it said.

Court cases
The GFATM and department of health are scheduled to meet on Thursday to resolve the impasse.

“We call on them to make sure that the grant continues to operate and that all the sub-recipients are paid by the first week of January,” it said.

“We also need to exist in order to enforce several court orders we have won over the years and to fight upcoming court cases, such as one against Christ Embassy, a church whose public advertisements have in the past claimed that they can cure Aids.”

Health spokesperson Fidel Hadebe said he would only be able to comment on the payments once he had met with the GFATM.

“I find it difficult to comment because I have no details on what they [TAC] are saying. I will only be able to say something tomorrow [Thursday].

The TAC was formed by HIV-positive activist Zackie Achmat in 1998. — Sapa

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