Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has today, 19 July 2010, concluded his two legged official visit to Austria and Spain
20 Jul 2010
Deputy President Motlanthe was leading a high level government delegation to the 18th International AIDS Conference in Austria, Vienna. The Deputy President departed Austria for Spain immediately after addressing the AIDS Conference opening ceremony that was attended and addressed by Austrian President Mr Heinz Fischer. He was supported, on the Vienna leg by Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and Public Works Deputy Minister Ms Henrietta Bogopane-Zulu.
Addressing the AIDS Conference, the Deputy President said that South Africa belief "every instrument available in society must be used to address the HIV and AIDS pandemic."
"South Africa is taking all steps to ensure the availability and accessibility of treatment for the needy," he said.
The Deputy President said that the South African government has deliberately embarked on a substantial HIV testing counselling campaign that aspires to allow the majority of the population to know their HIV status. According to the Deputy President this would allow them to act accordingly and where necessary, to access the expanded treatment support services that are provided.
Under the theme – "I am responsible. We are responsible. South Africa is taking responsibility," The Deputy President said South Africa is working in unison with its social partners under the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) and that noteworthy progress has been recorded over the past few years in “many key aspects of our collective national response."
SANAC includes amongst other social partners, people living with HIV and AIDS, traditional leaders, performing artists, medical practitioners, researchers and scientists, women, children and youth.
The Deputy President cited, as some of the noteworthy progress; the dramatic improvement in the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) programme, the provision of anti-retroviral treatment to well over 80% of diagnosed mothers and the reduction of mother to child transmission to below six percent in some of "our priority districts".
"Working with our social partners, we have striven to ensure that our response to the pandemic is evidence-based, properly resourced and effective," he said
The Deputy President also participated in a panel discussion with the theme "Towards Paradigm shift in HIV prevention and treatment" and paid a courtesy call on the Austrian President. He also officially opened the South African Exhibition where he took the opportunity to also celebrate the 92nd birthday of South Africa’s icon former President Nelson Mandela.
The Deputy President addressed the African Progress Conference, which aspires to provide a forum for dialogue between progressive sectors of Africa and Europe.
While in Spain, addressing the African Progress Conference the Deputy President said that the South African government believes that “progressive politics is not only about restoring the humanity of Africans by freeing them from colonialism and neo-colonialism, but is also about empowering them as a people, through consciously creating conditions that enable them to define their destiny.”
He commended the understanding of this conference that states that "Today there is agreement within the progressive community that the policy agenda is to be set from an African perspective, while international partners’ engagement must focus on potential coordinated responses and the role of the international community in pursuing the objectives defined by Africans themselves."
Deputy President Motlanthe said that progressive politics speaks to empowering programmes targeted at ending conflict in Africa. However he acknowledged that there are still challenges that stifle progress and attributed them to amongst others "inter-state conflicts, civil wars and so-called ethnic conflicts."
"We do well to remember the optimism and expectation of our people when they unshackled themselves in the 1950s and 60s from the clutches of colonialism and imperialism,” he said. He further said that "the collapse of the colonial system on our continent generated hope among the African masses to exercise their right to self determination so that they build a new Africa based on principles of liberty, peace and prosperity."
"Unfortunately, in many cases, the few decades following the liberation of the majority of the African countries painfully betrayed this vision of hope and progress."
Deputy President Motlanthe reminded the conference of the Constitutive Act of the African Union (AU) that emphasises paying attention to the rights of member states that may require intervention, as a result of grave circumstances that they may find themselves in, such as war crimes, crime against humanity, from the Union in order to ensure peace and security
"It is for this reason that the Constitutive Act of the African Union emphasises that in situations where there are “grave circumstances, namely, war crimes and crime against humanity," "the right of Member States to request intervention from the Union in order to ensure peace and security" should be heeded," the Deputy President said.
Source: The Presidency
Issued by: Department of International Relations and Cooperation
20 Jul 2010
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