We, as South African civil society organisations, renew our demand that the Joint Committee on HIV & AIDS (JCHIV) be reinstated, and we request the participation of all South Africans to join us in this call.
We will host a Public Panel Discussion at St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town on Tuesday, 25th August 2015, from 09:30 – 12:00, and we invite individuals and other civil society formations to attend.
The JCHIV, initially set up in 2012 to focus on the HIV and AIDS pandemic in South Africa and how its spread could be prevented, was disbanded in 2014 and repeated requests to have it reinstated have been ignored. Despite the announcement of most other committees in South Africa’s Parliament, the Joint Committee on HIV & AIDS (JCHIV) has still not been reinstituted, and this is a matter of critical national importance.
WHY IS IT A MATTER OF CRITICAL IMPORTANCE?
An estimated 6.4 million of 52.9 million South Africans have HIV – and numbers of those affected are rising. According to the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) National HIV Survey of 2014, 12.2% of South Africa’s population – or 36% of females between ages 30 and 34 and 28.8% of males between ages 35 to 39 – are HIV-positive.
WE NEED TO KEEP HIV ON THE AGENDA!
South Africa cannot afford to lose the ground where it has been gained. We need to upscale our commitment and response. With over 1.2 million new infections since 2008, the imperative of the committee is no less urgent today than when the JCHIV was formed.
“Silence on this matter indicates an apparent lack of accountability, political will and leadership,” says Phillipa Tucker, Co-Founder of AIDS Accountability International, an independent research and advocacy think tank which strives to ensure that there is strong and accountable leadership at all levels of society to promote effective responses to health challenges.
The South African Joint Parliamentary Committee on HIV was formed to monitor and evaluate the implementation of government’s HIV and AIDS strategy, policy and programmes; examine and evaluate existing and proposed HIV-related legislation, policies and budgetary allocations; and ensure that HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment remain as priorities on the national agenda.
Come and join respected South African civil society organisations in a Public Panel Discussion calling for the reinstatement of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on HIV and AIDS, at St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town on 25 August 2015, from 09:30 – 12:00. Refreshments will be served.
Panelists will include:
- Daniel Molokele, Executive Director of AIDS Accountability International
- Nombasa Gxuluwe, Programme Officer for World AIDS Campaign International
- (TOPIC: Importance of JCHIV for civil society)
- Ntando Yola, Community Engagement Coordinator for the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation
- (TOPIC: Civil society progress and activities to date in calling for the reinstatement of the JCHIV)
- Bafana Khumalo, Senior Programmes Specialist and Co-Founder of Sonke Gender Justice
- (TOPIC: The JCHIV from the SANAC perspective)
- Dr. Bevan Goqwane, Member of Parliament National Assembly and Former JCHIV Co-Chair
- (TOPIC: Background of the JCHIV)
- Advocate Paul Hoffman, Director and Head of Projects for the Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa
- (TOPIC: Legal perspective of the JCHIV)
- Mmapaseka Steve Letsike, Deputy Chairperson of the South African National AIDS Council
- (TOPIC: SANAC perspective of the JCHIV)
PLEASE NOTE THAT PANELISTS AND MEDIA CONTACTS ARE AVAILABLE FOR COMMENT BEFORE THE PUBLIC DISCUSSION, UPON REQUEST.
1. AIDS Accountability International – Daniel Molokele
+27 79 693 2579
2. Sonke Gender Justice – Bafana Khumalo
+27 82 579 4479
3. Civil society letters: https://genderjustice.org.za/policy-development-advocacy/joint-committee-hiv-aids/
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR JOURNALISTS
Ten reasons why the Joint Committee on HIV and AIDS needs to be reconstituted:
- It is necessary to hold SANAC accountable to Parliament.
- It will strengthen the National Development Plan for a South Africa free of HIV.
- It will make it easy for Parliament to hold other government departments, such as Basic Education, Higher Education, Social Development, Correctional Services and Defence and Military Veterans accountable for their budgets and programmes on HIV and AIDS.
- It will support the monitoring of interventions made by the private sector in relation to HIV and AIDS.
- It will strengthen Parliament’s oversight on HIV and HIV spending and strategies.
- HIV and AIDS will be addressed as a development issue that cuts across all sectors and won’t be relegated as only a health problem.
- It will help release blockages in service delivery of basic needs, which – in their absence – make people vulnerable to HIV.
- It will influence the effectiveness of provincial, district and local councils on AIDS.
- It will improve Parliament’s interaction with civil society in the field of HIV and AIDS, and TB.
- It will aid proper planning which will result in considerate and equitable distribution of resources to people in semi-urban and peripheral areas.
CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS CALLING FOR THE REINSTATEMENT OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON HIV AND AIDS:
- Access Chapter 2
- African Men for Sexual Health and Rights
- AIDS Accountability International
- AIDS and Rights Alliance of Southern Africa
- AIDS Healthcare Foundation South Africa
- Coalition of African Lesbians
- Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation
- Doctors Without Borders
- Grassroot Soccer South Africa
- International HIV/AIDS Alliance
- National Association of People Living with HIV and AIDS
- Network of East African AIDS Service Organisations
- Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS in Southern Africa
- Networking HIV/AIDS Community of South Africa
- Pan African Business Coalition on HIV and AIDS
- Pan African Treatment Access Movement
- Positive Women’s Network
- Section 27
- Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT)
- Sonke Gender Justice
- Southern African AIDS Information Dissemination Services
- Southern Africa AIDS Trust
- Southern African HIV Clinicians Association
- South African National AIDS Council (Civil Society Forum)
- TB/HIV Care Association
- Treatment Action Campaign
- Wellness Foundation
- World AIDS Campaign International