10 December 2018

South Africa: TAC Thanks Constitutional Court As It Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) is celebrating 20 years of existence by leading a symbolic march to the Constitutional Court to thank it for what it has done for people living with HIV.

Speaking to News24 on Monday, general secretary Anele Yawa said they wanted to thank the apex court, saying "we have 4.4 million people on ARVs due to this court and we are coming to say thank you for upholding the Constitution".

The TAC began its birthday celebrations on Sunday with an all-night vigil at the Women's Jail at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg.

The night vigil recognised and remembered comrades, including hundreds of TAC activists who died while the movement fought for better healthcare services.

In a statement on Thursday, TAC's Leonorah Mathe said the country now had the world's largest HIV treatment programme. She said the programme had probably saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

"The harsh reality is that our struggle for dignity and quality healthcare for all is still far from over," Mathe said.

"A movement of principled, politically savvy, well-informed, rights aware users of the public healthcare system is needed more than ever. TAC is still that movement."

The TAC had seen many victories in the courts, clinics, as well as politics, over the years and had educated thousands of people about the science and treatment of HIV, Mathe added.

"The TAC has a waged a struggle against pharmaceutical giants profiteering from lifesaving medicines, the movement mobilised against the denialism of former president [Thabo] Mbeki to afford lifesaving treatment to people, while enjoying the support of the late former president Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel, Winnie Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, among many others."

"It is not a coincidence that December 10 is also international Human Rights Day, as well as the day that South Africa's pioneering and pro-poor Constitution was signed by former president Nelson Mandela," Mathe said.

Source: News24

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