South Africa

GroundUp: Aids Council responds to corruption allegations

By GroundUp 15 June 2017

Civil society organisations were called “malicious” by the chair of the South African National Aids Council . By Ashleigh Furlong for GROUNDUP.

First published by GroundUp

The South African National Aids Council (SANAC) has rejected claims of corruption and a lack of confidence in the council.

On Thursday at a media briefing at the South African National AIDS Conference, SANAC civil society leaders responded to a statement signed by five civil society organisations which alleged that SANAC has a “crisis of governance and legitimacy”.

The organisations also said that the National Strategic Plan (NSP) for HIV and TB for 2017 to 2022 had various omissions and had failed to provide “much-needed direction and leadership”.

SANAC guides and coordinates the writing of the NSP.

The organisations are the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), SECTION27, Legal Resources Centre (LRC), Masithandane End-Hate Crimes Collective and the Rural Health Advocacy Project (RHAP).

Co-chair of SANAC’s civil society forum Mabalane Mfundisi said the NSP was a “perfect imperfection”. He said it was a “culmination of many different voices” and that all these voices were reflected in the NSP.

If anyone wanted to question the legitimacy or the make-up of SANAC, Mfundisi said they should go to the IEC as it ran the election process.

Chairperson of SANAC’s National Civil Society Forum, Mapaseka Steve Letsike, said that due processes were followed. Letsike said that the “root cause of the problem was about the power of resources” and that members of the civil society organisations are “malicious” and “violate each other”.

Today, we say this must come to an end.”

Referring to allegations that she was involved in corruption at SANAC, Letsike said “bring the evidence”.

Tell me where I have at all been corrupt in SANAC. If you can’t bring that evidence, stop abusing us,” she said.

Regarding an amount of R240,000 allocated to the office of deputy chair of SANAC (a position that Letsike also holds), Letsike said that this money was used to pay for things such as refreshments and administration. She did not receive this money, said Letsike, as her position was voluntary.

She was also questioned about not signing a declaration of her interests. Letsike said that she had delayed signing the declaration because she had unanswered questions regarding it, but that she has since signed it.

Mbulelo Dyasi, the secretary general of the Men’s Sector at SANAC, also questioned where and on what was money spent in the AIDS sector. He called on Parliament and the public protector to assist them as they “must investigate the entire AIDS sector”.

Who is funded and where is that money going to?” asked Dyasi. “They must tell us why only four white organisations are funded in South Africa, yet AIDS is black.”

Jacqueline Bodibe, part of the Global Fund Co-ordinating Mechanism, alleged that a sex worker had been intimidated out of participating in the media briefing by an organisation that was “supposed to be protecting workers”. It is unclear which organisation she was referring to.

The leader of the Women’s Sector at SANAC, Khanyisa Dunjwa, said: “The activism space is becoming a space of the privileged. [We] see ourselves fighting the different levels of the privilege.”

She claimed that some people in the organisations that made the allegations against the council didn’t even know about the statement’s existence until it was signed. DM

Photo: Chair of SANAC’s National Civil Society Forum Mmapaseka Steve Letsike at a media briefing responding to allegations of corruption and failings in the SA National Aids Council. Photo: Ashleigh Furlong


Watch Pauli van Wyk’s Cat Play The Piano Here!

No, not really. But now that we have your attention, we wanted to tell you a little bit about what happened at SARS.

Tom Moyane and his cronies bequeathed South Africa with a R48-billion tax shortfall, as of February 2018. It's the only thing that grew under Moyane's tenure... the year before, the hole had been R30.7-billion. And to fund those shortfalls, you know who has to cough up? You - the South African taxpayer.

It was the sterling work of a team of investigative journalists, Scorpio’s Pauli van Wyk and Marianne Thamm along with our great friends at amaBhungane, that caused the SARS capturers to be finally flushed out of the system. Moyane, Makwakwa… the lot of them... gone.

But our job is not yet done. We need more readers to become Maverick Insiders, the friends who will help ensure that many more investigations will come. Contributions go directly towards growing our editorial team and ensuring that Daily Maverick and Scorpio have a sustainable future. We can’t rely on advertising and don't want to restrict access to only those who can afford a paywall subscription. Membership is about more than just contributing financially – it is about how we Defend Truth, together.

So, if you feel so inclined, and would like a way to support the cause, please join our community of Maverick Insiders.... you could view it as the opposite of a sin tax. And if you are already Maverick Insider, tell your mother, call a friend, whisper to your loved one, shout at your boss, write to a stranger, announce it on your social network. The battle for the future of South Africa is on, and you can be part of it.


Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or if you are already an Insider.

Family Ties

Ramaphosa acts to smooth relations with Botswana after Bridgette Radebe controversy

By Carien Du Plessis

A lightning bolt is 5 times hotter than the sun's surface.