PRETORIA, South Africa (AP)--South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki accused
the U.N.'s Global Fund for AIDS Thursday of flouting its own rules by
funding anti-AIDS programs without proper government approval.
The $60 million grant from the U.N.'s Global Fund to Fight Aids was
originally earmarked for AIDS victims in the KwaZulu-Natal province, where
government studies indicate more than one in three people are HIV
But Mbeki said the funds would instead be dispersed by the national
government rather than provincial authorities.
"We don't know the reason why the fund dealt with us nationally, and with
KwaZulu-Natal," he said.
AIDS activists have called for the resignation of South Africa's health
minister for placing the grant in jeopardy.
Some 4.7 million South Africans - one in nine - are HIV positive, more
people than in any other country in the world. The government has drawn
widespread criticism over its haphazard and ineffective approach toward
tackling the epidemic and downplaying its seriousness.
Mbeki said the national government was awaiting a report on AIDS mortality
rates before dispensing the U.N. grant. The report would be finalized by
year-end, he said, adding that tuberculosis remained the leading cause of
death in South Africa.