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Thread: "Take an Aids test, Mr Mbeki"

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    "Take an Aids test, Mr Mbeki"

    I picked this up on the news last night, and went searching for an article. The deputy minister of health has called for Mbeki to go for a public HIV test in the same way that she did.

    Madlala-Routledge has set an example by being tested for HIV, in a bid to persuade South Africans to do the same.

    She is widely seen as the driving force behind the government's regeneration in tackling HIV and Aids, and she is closely involved in compiling a new five-year anti-Aids plan.

    In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph she did the unthinkable by suggesting that the president should follow her example and go for HIV-testing.

    "It seems logical to me that people in leadership positions should see why that makes sense," she said.

    "Take an Aids test, Mr Mbeki" on News24
    It seems that Mbeki has turned down the "offer". And HIV/AIDS test is seen to be something quite personal (look at the regulations surrounding it), so should out leaders be subjected to a public test?

    More importantly what comes out of this is a junior minister challenging Mbeki publicly, and what that implies. The e-News political analyst mentioned a couple of interesting things,

    • If he fires her he will come under a lot of outside political pressure (non-ANC, international, etc.)
    • If he doesn't fire her he will come under immense internal pressure (ANC)
    • Manto is now seen to be a "lame duck" with Routledge and Nguka (vice president) having effectively taken over the running of the health department.


    I'm guessing that these are symptoms of a power struggle going on behind the scenes, and I'm wondering who the "power players" are.

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Rescinding?

    So it seems that Routledge has now denied saying the president should go for a public HIV/AIDS test. I caught it on the news last night and tracked this down...

    "Although I encourage people to test so that they know their HIV status, I did not, as a matter of fact, call upon the president to conduct a public test as claimed by the reports," she said on Tuesday.

    "Aids test claim denied" on News24
    So with the damage done, this seems to give her a back door to squirm out of.

    Unsurprisingly COSATU has also added their voice to this,

    Significantly Cosatu said it "also fully supports the deputy minister's decision to take her family with her for an HIV test, and her call on President Thabo Mbeki to do the same. We urge all workers to follow her lead and get themselves tested."

    "Aids: Cosatu praises Nozizwe" on News24
    And inevitably...yes, you guessed it...the DA too,

    DA MP Gareth Morgan said in a statement: "It must be said that the deputy minister appears to have stuck to her guns on her main point - that the government has so far failed to handle the Aids epidemic appropriately. Her stubbornness in resisting what was likely to have been considerable pressure to back-down completely must be praised.

    "However, her back-down on the question of a public Aids test for the president indicates that President Mbeki is still steadfastly refusing to play a constructive leadership role in the Aids prevention campaign," said Morgan.

    "Aids test backdown 'a pity'" on News24

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