Fri Apr 25 05:47:29 SAST 2014
Fri Apr 25 05:47:29 SAST 2014

We rejoice with Mavis

Jun 28, 2012 | Sowetan Editorial |   21 comments

Her story is like those of many other ordinary South Africans who normally find themselves having to bear the brunt of arrogant and insensitive public officials - in whose hands their lives sometimes unfortunately lie

SUFFERING: Mavis lives in misery because of her enlarged breasts.

WE REJOICE with the Ekurhuleni woman who has had her abnormally grown breasts surgically reduced at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital.

Mavis - as Sowetan has chosen to call her to protect her identity - has told us how "blessed" she feels now that she can lead a normal life.

Mavis is a HIV-positive mom who developed ARV-related side effects leading to her overgrown breasts that hampered her mobility. She even had to quit her job as a result of this abnormality.

Now she says she has a reason to smile.

For us, Mavis's case is an example of the role that the media can and should play in both highlighting the plight of the disadvantaged and holding public officials accountable.

Her story is like those of many other ordinary South Africans who normally find themselves having to bear the brunt of arrogant and insensitive public officials - in whose hands their lives sometimes unfortunately lie.

The response by the Gauteng health officials to her plight is a case in point. Not only was she shunted around by these officials but she was - at some point - even told her condition is not life-threatening and therefore not a priority to receiving treatment.

Sowetan has also faced the wrath of Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, whose main concern was apparently that by disclosing Mavis's condition we could undermine the government's anti-Aids campaign.

The inference is that people could avoid finding out about their HIV status because if found to be HIV-positive they would then have to use the "dangerous" ARV's that have disfigured Mavis.

Our stance is that we did what we did to highlight her plight within the confines of the law and the professional ethics that bind us as a newspaper.

We also believe that had we not done what we did, Mavis would not have received the kind of treatment she eventually did.

It is also our belief that had we not intervened in the manner that we did chances are that Minister Motsoaledi would not have known about Mavis's case, and he would not have intervened in the manner that he did.

More so, we believe Mavis would not have received an apology from Gauteng Health MEC Ntombi Mekgwe for the ill-treatment she suffered at the hands of insensitive provincial health officials.

This is the context in which our coverage of Mavis's story should be seen and appreciated - as an example of excellent journalism.

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