Mondi pleased to be heard by government

Zweli Mokgata

Zweli Mokgata

Jackie Mondi, social responsibility manager at Nike South Africa, was shocked to hear her name mentioned on national television by one of the most powerful men in South Africa.

When Finance Minister Trevor Manuel singled Mondi out in his Budget speech on Wednesday, she was elated that there were at least some instances where the government listened to its people.

Ten years ago the national treasury launched "Tips for Trevor", a forum that allows citizens to make suggestions on how government should spend taxpayer money collected.

This week Manuel gave a special thanks to people like Mondi, who altogether sent over 20000 suggestions to date.

An additional R932million will be added to the health department's HIV/AIDS grant in the financial year beginning in April.

Among the suggestions that the treasury adopted was one sent by Mondi to introduce free anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment for HIV positive patients in public hospitals.

"I didn't expect such a response, but I wasn't alone in wanting it" Mondi said yesterday. "When I wrote the letter in 2003 there weren't any free ARVs available in hospitals, just free prevention of mother-to-child treatment."