Durban: February 11, 2005
President Thabo Mbeki's approach to HIV/Aids in his State of the Nation address on Friday epitomised his "denialist attitude" toward the pandemic, which the rest of the country equated with a war, said the Inkatha Freedom Party's (IFP) Ruth Rabinowitz.
Mbeki often spoke of two South Africas. "It is as if he lives in a different one from the millions of people suffering and dying from HIV/Aids, said Rabinowitz, the IFP's health spokeswoman.
In his remarks on HIV/Aids, Mbeki said the government's comprehensive plan was to be implemented with "greater vigour". He added the plan was among the best in the world, combing awareness, treatment and home-based care.
Mbeki said government aimed to reduce non-communicable and communicable diseases and non-natural causes of death by promoting healthy lifestyles, increasing the focus on tuberculosis, HIV/Aids, malaria, cholera and other water-borne diseases, and increasing the standard of living of the poor.
His contention that the government had satisfactorily reached the nation's goals for poverty relief was "certainly not true for millions who go without Aids testing and medication", said Rabinowitz.
Furthermore, it was also "not true" that the government had almost met its 2002 objective of ensuring all who were eligible for grants received them within three years, particularly for orphans and child-headed families which could not access grants, she said.