ANC FOLLOWS MBEKI'S LEAD ON HIV/AIDS ISSUE
SAPA 3 October 2000
The African National Congress has refrained from clarifying its stance
HIV and AIDS, saying while it supported the government's prevention
campaign against the pandemic, it also felt more research was needed
the cause of the syndrome.
President Thabo Mbeki has repeatedly come under fire, most recently from
the South African Medical Association (Sama), for questioning whether
HIV is the sole cause of AIDS.
Mbeki appointed a panel of orthodox and dissident scientists to
the links between the human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) and acquired
human immuno-dificiency syndrome (AIDS).
He questioned whether there was a direct link between HIV and AIDS,
other factors such as poverty could cause AIDS. Mbeki told the national
assembly last month the question was what contribution the virus made to
weakening the immune system. He had no problem with the proposition that
contributed to the collapse of the immune system, but felt it was not
solely responsible. The ANC's statement was released after a three-day
meeting of the party's national executive committee, which ended on
It reaffirmed the ANC's support of government policy and programmes on
and AIDS, which are based on the thesis that HIV causes AIDS.
The statement then went on to say it supported "scientific enquiry" into
the pandemic and towards efforts to find a cure.
"In this context, we should refuse to surrender to populism, dogma and
sales pitches of some pharmaceutical companies and their agents," it
The NEC said fighting the spread of the pandemic was a national
The party and its supporters must not become distracted from turning
the tide of the pandemic.
"Neither should we pander to the agenda of those whose occupation it is
extract the most sensational sound byte."
When asked to clarify the ANC's stance on HIV and AIDS issue, Public
Enterprises Minister Jeff Radebe, who attended the press conference,
"It is in the statement ... we support the president."