Nearly 3 out of every 4 Tlokweng residents are HIV-positive

Boitumelo Tshehle

Boitumelo Tshehle

About 70percent of Tlokweng residents, near Rustenburg, are HIV-positive.

Ward 21 councillor, Sipho Vava, yesterday said this after North West's MEC for health, Nomonde Rasmeni, visited the area to celebrate World Health Day on Monday.

Vava said living in Tlokweng was a challenge.

Even children as young as 15 were affected by the disease.

Vava, however, is more concerned about the orphans that will result from the Aids epidemic.

"People here are dying and we have only one clinic that operates 24 hours," he said.

Tlokweng consists of two small villages, Vrede and Sesibiswe.

He said people of Sesibiswe walk about 10km to the clinic.

"Most of these people are from the farms and they are not educated and are very poor. They have no education about HIV and Aids. This could be contributing to the high number of people who are positive in this village," said Vava.

He said 63 people were diagnosed with the disease in June last year at Vrede clinic, and most of them were between the ages of 34 and 40. Of this number, two were pregnant women.

Prostitution is also said to be contributing to the problem.

"We have our young people who go and sell their bodies on the Botswana road.

"We are next to the border, so trucks that avoid paying the tollgate fee pass through Tlokweng."

He said he was also worried about youths in the area who had resorted to abusing drugs.

Taverns are more than food stores in this area.

Vava said he had asked Moses Kotane Local Municipality to help solve the problem of unemployed youths, most of whom lacked skills.

In her speech, Rasmeni said: "We want to leave a message in this village that suggests that our department is fully behind you and will do everything possible to address your health related challenges."