PAC call for state of emergency

Waghied Misbach

Waghied Misbach

The PAC has called on the government to declare a "state of emergency" in the country to deal with the HIV-Aids pandemic.

The party's policy conference held in Cape Town at the weekend resolved that a "state of emergency be declared because we have one million Aids orphans, 5,5million people infected, and more than 800 Aids-related deaths a day".

Achmat Cassiem, PAC secretary-general, told a press conference that "if these did not justify a state of emergency, what else will"?

Cassiem said the health system in South Africa was "in a mess" and was also understaffed.

"To deal with HIV-Aids, 35000 teachers can be trained to highlight the pandemic to their primary audience of about 12million learners.

"The country could also employ the army to tackle the pandemic," he said.

He said the PAC was planning to call for an HIV-Aids summit next year to determine what was needed to tackle the pandemic.

Health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and the "Aids denialist", President Thabo Mbeki, would be invited, he said.

On the taking of public HIV-Aids tests, Cassiem said it would be up to individual PAC members to do so.

It was morally "obligatory", but not compulsory to do so, he said.

The party's president, Letlapa Mphahlele, said if he took an HIV-Aids public test it would not be as a "political gimmick".