Protest outside SANDF HIV court

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IOL SANDF soldier INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS File picture: Thomas Holder

Pretoria - About 100 people protested outside the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday to support a case involving SANDF members allegedly unfairly discriminated against, civil rights group Section27 said.

Treatment Action Campaign activists and former SA National Defence Force members embarked on a “solidarity demonstration”, said Section27 executive director Mark Heywood.

The group sang and danced in protest and carried signs to demonstrate their support for the members.

The protest was in support of two former SANDF recruits who allegedly lost their jobs because they were HIV-positive.

“The two women recruits who had undergone two years of training did not have their contracts renewed after they tested HIV-positive,” Heywood said in a statement.

The two applicants were joined by the SA Security Forces Union and the SA National Defence Union.

“The applicants will argue through their lawyers at Section27

that the military's health classification discriminates against HIV-positive individuals through their refusal to admit them into their core service system and their military skills development system without taking into account individuals' state of health or their competency to perform their jobs,” Heywood said.

He said the applicants would also argue that the SANDF had failed to deal with evidence from a study about HIV.

The study showed that an adult with HIV in South Africa who qualified, medically, for anti-retroviral treatment, commenced treatment when his or her CD4 count was above 200 and had been adherent for a period of more than 24 months had a near normal life expectancy.

Sapa


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