The sacking of a minister is no ordinary event - as underlined by the mixed reactions to Deputy Health Minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge's axing.
With reasons for her dismissal now public, few doubt the nature of relations with her boss, Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, or President Thabo Mbeki.
Of serious concern, though, is its effect on the delicate partnership with groupings such as the Treatment Action Campaign. Better rapprochement existed between them and Madlala-Routledgethan with Tshabalala-Msimang.
That said, all parties should not be distracted from the greater goal of a unified response to the challenges presented by HIV-Aids.