Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Do the ANC benefit if AIDS-sufferers die sooner?

The South African government, more specifically, President Thabo Mbeki and Minister Manto Tshabalala Msimang, are notorious for their controversial and misguided statements concerning HIV/AIDS. The South African government (which is governed by a two-thirds ANC majority) has also been reluctant to supply anti-retrovirals to AIDS-patients. This 'apathy' of the SA government often baffles even the most resolute ANC-supporters.

To better conceive the motivation behind the ANC's dubious behaviour, one must bare in mind that South Africa has the highest AIDS-infection rate in the world. Here is a summary of South Africa's current(2003) AIDS status, as provided by UNAIDS:

  • Adults between the ages of 15 and 59 have a prevalence rate of 21.5%
  • There are 5100 000 adults between the ages of 15 and 59 living with HIV
Thus, out of a population of roughly 40 Million people, about 5 Million will die due to AIDS within the next ten to twelve years. During that period, the number of people infected with AIDS will increase considerably. Thus it can be said, bearing in mind the damning statistics, that South Africa's AIDS-status is beyond critical.

The ANC draw most of their support from the country's black population (blacks make up 70% of the country's population), which means that the ANC might quite possibly sustain a substantial blow to their support-base due to AIDS-related deaths.

It can also be said that the longer an AIDS-sufferer lives, the bigger the chances are that such a person might infect another.

There is no doubt that the ANC is doing everything they can to stop the spread of the disease. This can be seen by their arduous awareness-campaigns. However, the government's reluctance to provide anti-retroviral drugs to AIDS-sufferers, and recent reckless comments on HIV/AIDS by both the minister of health, Manto Tshabalala Msimang and the state president, Thabo Mbeki, shows a tendency of reckless behaviour towards those that are already infected with HIV.

What are the chances that they are intentionally trying to shorten the lifespan of AIDS-sufferers, and thereby the likelyhood of them spreading the disease?