Council will ensure Aids funds are spent

Thozi Manyisana

Thozi Manyisana

The Eastern Cape Aids Council will develop a strategy that will allow it to intervene when government departments underspend on HIV-Aids programmes and projects.

This was said by the organisation's chief executive, Lulama Ntshingwa, in King William's Town on Tuesday.

Ntshingwa, a pastor, said underspending on HIV-Aids projects was "critical and affecting everyone".

There is growing concern that government departments were underspending their budgets despite the growing number of people infected and affected by the pandemic.

The departments of education, health and social development were lambasted by the provincial legislature for not utilising the Aids budget.

Ntshingwa said the Aids council is helping departments to spend the money for workplace programmes by training people.

It has been difficult to intervene on community projects, but Ntshingwa believed that the strategy, which would be unveiled in January, would allow the council to help departments spend the funds.

Sports, Arts and Culture MEC Noxolo Abrahams-Ntantiso, who is also council chairman, said the council's mandate was to advise the provincial legislature on all issues relating to HIV-Aids.

Abrahams-Ntantiso stressed that government alone could not win the fight against the spread of the disease and that is why the council incorporated businesses, traditional leaders, the media and non-governmental organisations.

The MEC urged everybody to join hands in the fight against the spread of HIV-Aids.

The provincial World Aids Day commemorations on December 1 would be held at Joza township in Grahamstown, where there is a high prevalence of HIV-Aids.

The information about the high incidence of the disease in the area of Cacadu district was based on information from voluntary counseling and testing centres.

Abrahams-Ntantiso said people affected and infected by the disease are still being "discriminated against by society because of the stigma attached to HIV-Aids. This should stop".