The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) joins millions of our people, especially the working class and the poor who are mostly affected and infected by the scourge of HIV/AIDS, as we observe World Aids Day.
We remember the sons and daughters of workers of our country who lost their lives due to the scourge of HIV/AIDS pandemic, and the many orphans whose lives have been torn apart and those who continue to champion the struggle for those infected and affected.
We observe this day amidst renewed commitments by President Jacob Zuma’s administration to fight this scourge that continues to ravages our society, mainly in working class and poor communities.
We welcome the various comprehensive strategies and bold plans as outlined by the Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi towards the fight against the pandemic.
The HIV/AIDS pandemic continues to weaken the voice of the working class on the shopfloor and in many other class battles geared towards building a productive and egalitarian society.
The fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic should be located and understood with the context of our ongoing race, class and gender struggles and should be an integral feature or pillar of our work and struggle to defeat Capitalism.
In a class and divided Capitalist society like South Africa, it is the workers and the poor that are at the receiving end of all the social ills.
They are vulnerable to all diseases as perpetuated by Capitalism amidst squalor, poverty, crisis of unemployment and mass underdevelopment.
We remain in support of governments announcement in August 2011 to budget R5 billion for the first year of treatment, with another billion rand added in the next financial year, and on the assurance that the ARV programme will be integrated into the future National Health Insurance (NHI).
Already 5, 38 million South Africans are estimated to be living with HIV, and that the number of new HIV infections for 2011 for those 15 years or older is estimated at 316,900.
This poses a grave challenge of making sure all those now receive or entitled to ARV’s, in order to drastically cut the rate of new infections.
Furthermore, NUMSA rejects the skewed and debunked HIV/AIDS prevention measures, including the proposed monetary windfall or price tag for testing as suggested by the leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) Helen Zille, which properly understood is a spit on the face to those affected and infected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
We firmly of the view that the measures proposed by the DA are far worse than the HIV/AIDS denialism associated with the previous administration led by President Thabo Mbeki, which led to many lives that could have been saved to perish or die.
We strongly believe that through existing governments’ strategies or intervention measures, with a particular emphasis on prevention, cure and treatment are fundamental in our fight against the pandemic.
The criminalization or throwing of money at the face of those affected or infected with the virus is the worse form of populist demagoguery of playing to the minds of poor and starving people.
This will also play to the hands of the dangerous class, the social scum, the passively rotting mass bred by the lowest layers of the Capitalist system to discriminate or through violent means displace those infected and affected by the virus from our communities.
The fight against the virus lies at the core of building a vibrant public healthcare system as envisaged in the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme.
NUMSA will continue to work tirelessly in combating the spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the workplace and in our communities.
We will also work closely with all the progressive forces to fight for workplace and community based and people driven care centres and against any form of discrimination in the workplace or in our communities in general for those living with HIV/AIDS.
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Numsa Press Release