Activists Demand Public Apology After Phaahla, Maape Show Down. Vice President Paul Mashatile delivered the keynote address at the Rustenburg event on Friday in his role as the director of the South African Aids Council. (Sanac).
Rushing the Tlhabane stadium marquee in North West, the demonstrators demanded an official apology from Premier Bushy Maape and Minister Joe Phaahla for allegedly ignoring their event on Thursday.
Activists Demand Public Apology After Phaahla, Maape Show Down
The president of People Living with Aids, Sibongile Tshabalala, claims that they are sick of seeing government officials denigrate communities and ignore discussions where real worries and firsthand experiences are shared.
“We are tired of leaders who only know us when there are elections coming, but after elections, they don’t make us a priority.
“Come next year’s elections every leader of political parties will be talking to people on the ground hugging us and giving us food parcels and blankets, but after the vote then they forget about us.
“That time is over. Everyone needs to be accountable and acknowledge communities. When they are called by communities that voted for them, they need to come to the ground and listen to them.”
According to Tshabalala, the event has been planned since last year and is one of the “policy in action” activities leading up to holidays like World TB Day and World Aids Day. Her organization was engaged in encouraging community members to attend.
She said, “[They] were supposed to come and listen to the community raising their frustrations about the public healthcare services that continue to fail people on the ground.”
She asserts that when it comes to the battle against tuberculosis, the government has fallen short of its promises. According to Tshabalala, stigma surrounding tuberculosis persists even in institutions.
Maape expressed regret and vowed to speak with the group right away.
The North West, according to deputy president Paul Mashatile, faces particular challenges in the battle against tuberculosis because of mining operations and a sizable number of informal settlements, which cause congestion and unfavorable living conditions.
He believes it is wrong that stigma still exists in 2023. “Stigma and discrimination remain some of the hardest social and structural barriers that limit access to TB screening, treatment, and care – thus compromising the lives of people who are infected and affected by TB,” he said.
Mashatile launched the fifth National Strategy Plan for HIV, TB, and STIs, which was approved by Cabinet.