An international campaign to support sacked former Deputy Health Minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge has been launched.
Posted on a petition website of the online publication Africafocus, a lobby group based in Washington DC, the online petition had 1926 signatures by late yesterday
The petition, started on August 10, aims to get 2000 signatures to send to the office of President Thabo Mbeki.
Signatories come from the US, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, UK, Canada and South Africa.
While the majority of petitioners are South Africans and a few from other African states, there are many from Western countries, where the idea seems to have originated.
Africafocus has copies of Madlala-Routledge's media statement in response to her dismissal, a TAC appeal to Mbeki not to fire her and Mbeki's dismissal letter. In the petition, signatories are called to action by faxing letters of protest to Mbeki at any of five supplied fax numbers.
"You should say you are writing to protest the dismissal of Deputy Minister of Health Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge".
They are also urged to advise Mbeki that Madlala-Routledge was the driving force behind the national Aids plan and that "South Africa needs real leadership on Aids from the Presidency down to local level, and Mbeki must lead by example".
In a preamble to the petition, Madlala-Routledge's friends say: "You have done us proud. You represent the best values so many of us have fought for and for which so many have died.
"Your dismissal is the clearest signal that our country is suffering from a serious leadership crisis."