Put Aids on the frontline

THE calls to have former president Thabo Mbeki either charged or apologise for his government's Aids policy are opportunistic and self-serving.

THE calls to have former president Thabo Mbeki either charged or apologise for his government's Aids policy are opportunistic and self-serving.

There is no denying that South Africa lost precious time over the prevarications of our former head of state over whether HIV caused Aids or if there were other reasons.

But getting him to apologise at this stage of the development of our Aids policy will achieve very little. Least of all because the ruling party has taught us that they make policy decisions as a collective, which means that at least in theory the party and all those who voted for it despite its unfortunate Aids policy, will be vicariously liable for the deaths now being laid at Mbeki's door.

There are simply too many to blame so it will be a futile exercise trying to get to each of them.

But even if that were not the case, focusing on Mbeki only helps to shift our eyes from the ball in our court.

What we need is leadership on HIV and Aids. Leaders are by definition forward looking, anticipating future events and laying down plans of how to meet challenges that are yet to come.

Those who dwell on Mbeki and his former minister of health Manto Tshabalala-Msimang do so to hide the fact that they have nothing constructive to contribute to our present challenges.

Insofar as HIV and Aids are concerned, Mbeki is yesterday's man. To win the battle against the virus, we need tomorrow's leaders.

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