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TAC praises Zuma for Aids speech

Published Oct 30, 2009

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President Jacob Zuma's speech on Aids in Parliament this week marked the demise of state-supported denialism, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) said on Friday.

His address had been "one of the most important speeches in the history of Aids in South Africa", the organisation said in a statement.

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"With this speech state-supported Aids denialism has been banished," it said.

" welcomes the ushering in of this new era, almost exactly ten years since former president Mbeki made a speech that began the era of state-supported denial."

Both speeches had been made in the National Council of Provinces.

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Zuma's speech had provided hope that he would show renewed commitment to meet the targets of the national strategic Aids plan.

TAC said it was unsure if the R900 million allocated to the department of health for Aids in this week's Medium Term Budget Policy Statement was enough.

However it was more than what was previously given to the department and closer to the actual amount requested.

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A further R240-million would be provided by the United States President's Emergency Fund for Aids Relief, so the shortfall would be relatively small.

But with the renewed political leadership demonstrated by Zuma, and the leadership of Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi, the strategic plan targets were achievable.

Zuma told MPs on Thursday that despite the comprehensive strategy to tackle HIV and Aids, acknowledged internationally, and the largest antiretroviral programme in the world, "we are not yet winning this battle".

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"If we are to stop the progress of this disease through our society, we will need to pursue extraordinary measures," he said. - Sapa

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