'ANC could threaten W Cape Aids policy'

Published Nov 7, 2001


If the Democratic Alliance lost the government of the Western Cape, the African National Congress was likely to turn it into a replica of all the other provinces that pandered to President Thabo Mbeki's bizarre views on Aids, DA leader Tony Leon said on Wednesday.

Leon was briefing DA councillors in the Free State about NNP leader Marthinus van Schalkwyk's walk out of the DA in favour of co-operation with the ANC. He said if the ANC Mpumalanga Health MEC could evict voluntary rape counsellors from Nelspruit Hospital because their Aids advice contradicted Mbeki, "then the ANC in the Western Cape could do the same".

He was referring to plans by the NNP and ANC to co-operate at all levels of government, including in the Western Cape which is currently ruled by a NNP-Democratic Party coalition.

The Western Cape provides free anti-retroviral drugs at public hospitals and clinics to HIV-positive pregnant women to reduce mother-to-child transmission, as well as to rape survivors.

"The public outcry about the nine-month-old baby who was gang-raped in Upington made sure she received anti-retroviral medication.

"But there are thousands of raped women and children who do not have access to this life-saving treatment in ANC-governed provinces," Leon said.

Instead of drafting floor-crossing legislation to undermine the opposition, Justice Minister Penuell Maduna should apply his mind to the SA Law Commission's report, which has been gathering dust since 1999.

"Legislation to provide care for Aids orphans should also be fast-tracked," Leon said. - Sapa

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