White River - Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza wants two mayors who failed to attend a special sitting on strategies for municipalities to deal with HIV/Aids to explain themselves.
The mayors of the Dipaleseng and Lekwa local municipalities were not present when all mayors converged for the Mpumalanga Provincial Aids Council (MPAC) meeting in White River on Wednesday, a Sapa correspondent reported.
“I am going to write a formal letter to them because I am concerned about their failure to attend this meeting. I did not get any written letter of apology; such behaviour is unacceptable,” said Mabuza.
The premier said no municipal officials would be allowed to undermine meetings that sought to find solutions to the pandemic.
“It is very bad, very bad for these two women to do this. They are dragging our work backwards when we are supposed to solve problems.”
Mabuza realised that mayors Sarah Nhlapo and Caroline Moratjane, of Dipaleseng and Lekwa respectively, were not present after Gert Sibande district municipality Chief Whip Agnes “Gogo Brown” Mnisi reported that the two municipalities' local Aids councils were dysfunctional.
“We are not playing when we talk about HIV and Aids. The municipalities do not have functional local Aids councils. I appeal to their leaders to appear at the next sitting,” said Mnisi.
Mabuza, who is also MPAC chairman, told a Sapa correspondent after the sitting that the two municipalities would be requested to report on the status of their local Aids councils.
“Their response will be discussed in the next council sitting,” said Mabuza.
The meeting was convened after human rights organisations Section 27 and the Treatment Action Campaign boycotted World Aids Day on the basis that the provincial government was not serious about dealing with HIV/Aids.
Dipaleseng local municipality spokeswoman Phindile Sidu confirmed that no official from the municipality, including Nhlapo, attended the meeting.
“We unfortunately missed the meeting. A formal apology letter will be forwarded to the premier stating our case,” said Sidu.
Sidu said the municipality did not have a budget allocated to the local Aids council.
“We are in a process of recruiting a local Aids council co-ordinator and this will be finalised by end of February 2014,” she said.
Attempts to get comment from Lekwa municipal spokesman Sipho Mkhwanazi failed.