[Marxism] South Africa pres fires minister for AIDS activity
Johannes.Schneider at gmx.net
Thu Aug 30 04:23:10 MDT 2007
Fred Feldman wrote:
> What strikes me about this article is the focus on international, NGO-type
> responses to this firing, a passing mention of "opposition politicians",
> the lack of any broader South African response. Does anybody on the list
> know more about this event?
> What did South African AIDS activists say? Any response from within the
> andd the lack of any hint of a South African response. Was there any?
> there any response to Mbeki's denial that AIDS is a national emergency in
> South Africa?
>From what I read on the net about the firing of Madlala-Routledge it is still a controversial issue. Especially health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang is beeing accused as a "criminal".
COSATU seems to be supporting Madlala-Routledge against accusations of financial irregularities, while the ANC leadership thinks about disciplinary actions against her, but has not taken any steps in that direction.
The SACP has opposed the sacking of Madlala-Routledge:
See eg these report from The Star and Business Day:
Mbeki, Manto slated as 'criminals'
By Deon de Lange
Aids lobbyist and supporters of fired deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge have intensified their defence and support for her by insulting and criticising President Thabo Mbeki.
Hundreds of members of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and other organisations packed the isles of St George's Cathedral in Cape Town on Wednesday.
"Nozizwe, you are in a bad place only because we have this criminal (s'gebengu) called Mbeki and this criminal called Manto (Tshabalala-Msimang)" they sang.
TAC leader Zackie Achmat told the gathering Madlala-Routledge's dismissal showed that Mbeki's government suffered from a "crisis of governance and a crisis of truth", and accused Mbeki and the health minister of "forcing this crisis on the people of South Africa".
He also revealed that Madlala-Routledge had visited him in hospital in 2005, but had to leave her bodyguards behind so as not to be noticed.
"If she was seen visiting me, she would have been in trouble," Achmat said.
The TAC has waged a protracted campaign against the Health department's failure to meet HIV treatment targets, and its relationship with the health minister has been particularly hostile, with the pressure group repeatedly calling for her head.
According to Nathan Geffen, from the Aids Law Project, the point of Wednesday's protest was to "express support for the principles for which Madlala-Routledge stood - the improvement of the public health system in general and the implementation of the government's National Strategic Plan on HIV and Aids".
Cosatu Eastern Cape chairperson Monroe Mkalipi, representing the national leadership, questioned the motive behind the government's pursuit of money owed by Madlala-Routledge.
"Some of these issues date back to 2001. Are they being raised now because of her stance on Aids?
"If this is how the government is going to go forward, then we say enough is enough. (HIV) is a national disaster and does not need politics," he said.
George Ellis, a cosmologist from the University of Cape Town, took the podium to rubbish Mbeki's explanation that he fired Madlala-Routledge because she couldn't work "as part of a collective".
"Yes indeed, she wouldn't go along with government lies about the state of health services in the Eastern Cape. Working as part of a collective (in this case) means you ask no embarrassing questions and hide the truth when told to do so," he said.
Ellis further suggested the bill for Madlala-Routledge's aborted trip to an Aids conference in Spain be handed to Mbeki, saying it was Mbeki's last-minute withdrawal of permission for the trip that caused the wasted expenditure in the first place.
"The real reason (for denying permission for the trip) is that it would have shown up South Africa's Aids policy in a deplorable light, and that is what had to be prevented."
Western Cape health worker Mpumi Mantangana, who cares for more than 2 000 people living with Aids in Khayelitsha, said it was shameful that Madlala-Routledge was fired on the eve of Women's Day.
"By losing people like Nozizwe, this government has taken a step backwards. But she has simply passed on the baton and the rest of us must take up the fight. I am sure I will be the next Nozizwe," she predicted.
She encouraged Madlala-Routledge to use her position as a backbencher in parliament to continue her campaign "for proper healthcare".
Presidential spokesperson Mukoni Ratshitanga said Mbeki had clarified himself with regard to the dismissal of Madlala-Routledge.
"We have noted that in spite of these clarifications, there are some who continue to peddle untruths about the reasons for President Mbeki's decision to relieve her of her duties," he said.
Cosatu backs axed deputy, calls for audit
AFRICAN National Congress (ANC) ally, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), yesterday called on the government to undertake a financial audit of “all cabinet members and senior government officials” who owed the state outstanding money.
Failure to do so would suggest the government was pursuing a “vendetta” against former deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge since her axing from cabinet, the federation said.
Cosatu is rallying behind the former deputy minister as government officials tighten the financial screws on her for outstanding debts owed to various government departments.
“It is highly suspicious that money allegedly outstanding since as early as 1999 is only now being recovered,” Cosatu said.
“If the government is so concerned about auditing the spending of taxpayers’ money, why has it taken so long to discover that these amounts are outstanding?”
Cosatu also condemned the government for docking Madlala-Routledge’s last salary.
It said this was illegal in terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, if the state had taken the money without Madlala-Routledge’s consent.
However, Public Service and Administration Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi told reporters in Cape Town yesterday it was not unusual for a public servant’s salary to be docked if money was owed. She cited the recent example of government employees who went on strike and whose salary payments were reversed.
The health department docked Madlala-Routledge’s last salary for money it said she owed for a travel allowance given to her ahead of the “unauthorised” trip to Spain, which led to her being axed.
The government is also insisting that Madlala-Routledge pay back R116357 in expenses and subsistence allowances incurred during her tenure as deputy defence minister from 1999 to 2004.
The ANC has yet to decide her fate, but senior leaders want to institute disciplinary charges.
Cosatu’s backing is likely to irk some in the ANC leadership who have agitated for Madlala-Routledge to face disciplinary charges for having allegedly brought the party into disrepute.
And, while ANC secretary-general Kgalema Motlanthe has been tasked by the ANC’s national working committee to meet Madlala-Routledge, it is understood that the party’s leadership is divided over the matter.
The article “Manto: A Drunk and A Thief” can be read here:
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