World Aids Day Commemoration,
Address by Deputy President, Mr Jacob Zuma Bloemfontein,
Free State 1 December 21003
The Premier of the Free State,
The Minister of Health,
Fellow South Africans,
We meet once again, to mark this annual event, at which
we take stock, and also recommit ourselves to working
even harder, to turn the tide against HIV and AIDS.
As we meet, we must applaud the contribution of many
sectors of our society, in combating this disease.
Allow me also, from the onset, to join President Mbeki
in paying tribute to the icon of our struggle, Former
President Mandela, for his sterling work in the fight
His mobilization of the international community, as
happened with the 46664 weekend concert in Cape Town,
makes us all continue to admire him for his selflessness,
and his resolve to constantly seek to improve the lives
Since last year's World Aids Day, we have seen much
progress in efforts to contain and curtail HIV and AIDS.
We believe that the awareness levels have resulted in
more and more people taking personal responsibility
for their actions and behaving cautiously. We are also
encouraged that there is now more openness about the
disease, which creates a better environment for prevention
work, as well as dealing with the impact of the epidemic
in our communities.
The disease is still affecting us in many ways, but
the unity of purpose in combating it and assisting those
affected is encouraging and gives us all hope. We have
always emphasized that combating HIV and AIDS is the
responsibility of every South African, and every sector,
be it women, men, youth, businesspeople, traditional
healers, traditional leaders, academics, People Living
with Aids and any other social group.
Having always emphasized the important role played
by each sector, I must today single out men. The government's
biggest HIV and AIDS communications campaign, KHOMANANI,
has targeted men as one of the foundations of family
and society, and as care-givers, husbands and partners,
and as fathers and as sons.
The adherence of men to the prevention message is important,
given that many women are dependent on them economically
and socially. Due to our patriarchal history, some women
are unable to negotiate precautionary measures in relationships,
putting them at risk. We therefore urge men to act responsibly,
and demonstrate that they care for the well-being of
their partners and their families.
We applaud all men who have taken this campaign to
heart, and who are part of the solution. Ladies and
gentlemen, we are pleased that our Five Year Plan for
HIV, AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases has stood
the test of time. It has provided guidance to all levels
of government and to our partners, about how to take
this battle forward. The plan consists of four priority
Preventing further HIV infections, through a combination
Treatment, care and support for those who are HIV-positive
and those close to them.
Research and monitoring, including ongoing research
into an AIDS vaccine.
Asserting the human and legal rights of all affected
As part of expanding access to treatment, and falling
within the ambit of this five-year plan, more than a
week ago, the Cabinet released an Operational Plan for
Comprehensive Treatment and Care for HIV and Aids. Among
many other things, the plan provides for Anti-Retroviral
treatment in the public health sector.
We want to reiterate that despite all these measures
from government and its partners, there is still no
known cure for HIV/Aids; as a result, prevention remains
the most critical aspect of our campaign. Therefore,
changing lifestyles and behaviour remains our starting
point in managing the epidemic. To put it unambiguously,
ladies and gentlemen, our message is still: abstain,
be faithful to your partner or use a condom.
Ladies and gentlemen, you would have heard about the
support that our partners in this year's World AIDS
day - Pick 'n Pay, EasyPay, Spoornet and the Red Cross
- have lended to this specific campaign. We also want
to acknowledge the enormous contribution of the business
community to the HIV and AIDS programme. We are especially
mindful of the endeavours being made by the South African
Business Coalition on HIV and AIDS.
SABCOHA is growing in strength and activity. Its members,
such as Unilever, Standard Bank and Anglo American are
developing best practice materials and expertise and
getting ready to share them with other businesses and
I would also like to recognize Eskom's contribution
as well. Early this year, Eskom joined forces with The
Foundation of Professional Development and the Southern
African HIV Clinicians Society and Development Communication
Associates to launch the biggest HIV and AIDS training
intervention for medical practitioners.
The company committed a total of R6m over a period
of three years to ensure that Southern African medical
practitioners are trained in the effective treatment
of HIV/AIDS patients. We need more initiatives like
this and we are open to discussions with business on
how to deepen such partnerships.
The contribution of the business community and many
other sectors, confirms our optimism that the battle
against HIV and AIDS can be won. Fellow South Africans,
I am very happy to report that the country's co-ordinating
mechanism, the South African National AIDS Council,
has finalised its restructuring. This will no doubt
further improve the potential of this body to address
HIV and AIDS within the Partnership Against AIDS and
It is now my pleasure to introduce to you the new members
of SANAC. They are all committed to working harder than
ever before, to make our united response to the epidemic
effective and efficient.
Let us not lose hope. Together we can triumph.
I thank you.