Following the President's decision to relieve Ms Nozizwe Madlala-Routlidge from her duties as Deputy Minister of Health, and the subsequent media reports implying that government policy and programmes on HIV/AIDS were at risk, government wishes to clarify the position as follows:
The government wishes to re-affirm its commitment to the national policy and strategic plan on HIV and AIDS (NSP 2007-2011), that was approved by Cabinet and the South African National Council on HIV/AIDS (SANAC). The existing consensus is the outcome of a process that was led by the Deputy President, the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC), and the leaders of the civil society organisations. Therefore, government position will not be affected by any changes in leadership at any level as the IMC is fully functional under the leadership of the Deputy President, Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
The NSP is a comprehensive and holistic approach that is designed to guide the country's response to the pandemic. The targets set out in the National Strategic Plan (NSP) for HIV/AIDS for 2007-2011 have been informed by broad and comprehensive consultation with civil society, South African scientists, labour, business, traditional leaders, lobby groups and health workers who have extensive experience in the area of HIV and AIDS. The plan is already being implemented by government departments and the various stakeholders in all sectors of our society.
The newly reconstituted South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) and the Inter-Ministerial Committee are in full swing and working tirelessly to ensure that the implementation of the plan remains the responsibility of all parties.
The concerted national partnership to win the war against the HIV and AIDS pandemic is at a critical point and all South Africans are re-assured of government's continuing efforts to ensure that the nation emerges victorious in our common goal of winning this war.
South African Government re-affirms its commitment to the NSP and is doing everything in its power to ensure that we meet the NSP targets of reducing the number of new infection by half, by 2011, and ensuring that at least 8 out of 10 people who need antiretroviral treatment receive it.
We wish to re-assure all South Africans that we have taken bold steps in the fight against the pandemic and that nothing will reverse this unity and common purpose.
Themba Maseko (Government Spokesperson)
Cell: 083 645 0810
Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)