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South African Press Association

Msimang "Totally Irresponsible": AEB


A pronouncement by Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang that South Africa must be militarily prepared for a possible invasion by the United States is "totally irresponsible", Afrikaner Eenheidsbeweging (AEB) leader Cassie Aucamp said on Wednesday.

He was reacting to a report in a British newspaper, the Guardian, on Tuesday that quotes the South African health minister as saying: "Look at what Bush is doing. He could invade."

Tshabalala reportedly made the statement during a recent interview with the daily, which was quizzing her on the availability of drugs to fight Aids. She told the Guardian that budgetary priorities meant her department could not provide anti-retrovirals to the estimated 4,5-million South Africans with HIV.

"We don't have the money for that. Where would it come from?" the newspaper quoted her as saying.

Asked if it could come from defence savings, if three proposed submarines were left out of South Africa's UK4-billion arms deal, the minister said the country needed to deter aggressors.

"South Africa cannot afford drugs to fight HIV and Aids partly because it needs submarines to deter attacks from nations such as the US," the Guardian quotes Tshabalala-Msimang as saying.

Aucamp said statements such as this were not only totally unfounded, but could kill President Thabo Mbeki's initiatives for an African renaissance and foreign investment in Nepad.

"The AEB calls on Mr Mbeki to do some damage control and repudiate what Tshabalala-Msimang has said."

He warned against the development of an "anti-US culture within the ANC".

Aucamp said the AEB had serious doubts about the health minister's view of international politics, and advised her to stick with her stethoscope.

Health ministry spokeswoman Jo-Ann Collinge said the department declined to comment at this stage.


South African Press Association (Johannesburg) provides news to news organizations around the world. 

Information in this article was accurate in December 18, 2002. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.