As you may be aware, the public health system in the Free State has collapsed. For over a year we have released alerts stating our concerns, borne out of the many stories we receive on a frequent basis from those who are dependent on this crumbling health system.
The TAC has used formal channels to bring our serious concerns to the urgent attention of the National Health Minister, the Premier Ace Magashule and the Health MEC Dr Benny Malakoane. While the National Health Minister indicates that his hands are tied in terms of intervening, the Premier and MEC have responded by launching witch-hunts against activists and creating an atmosphere where healthcare workers fear that if they speak out, they will be fired. Both Mashagule and Malakoane have shown no willingness or commitment to addressing the collapse of the health system.
On 10 July, 127 activists and community healthcare workers were arrested at Bophelo House, the headquarters of the Provincial Department of Health, following a peaceful night vigil. The vigil took place after the community healthcare workers had been relieved of their duties without notice and attempts to engage decision makers had been fruitless.
The TAC have committed to holding weekly peaceful vigils will until September 1st, when those arrested and held in custody for 36 hours will appear in court. We therefore request the support of key and influential partner organizations in helping us both fund and mobilize these efforts.
Our campaign in the Free State sits within our broader advocacy campaign the “People’s Health Manifesto”. We launched the “People’s Health Manifesto” in March in order to put the critical problems experienced by users of the public healthcare system onto the political agenda. Now it is crucial that we hold the newly elected government to account on the commitments made in relation to the real problems in our communities.
We are now in the post election phase of the campaign that will involve inviting key and influential partner organizations to join us to put more pressure on the government around public healthcare including the crisis in the Free State.
In addition the TAC have been running a campaign to “Fix the Patent Laws” in South Africa to ensure improved access to quality and affordable medicines. For over six years the government have been developing a National Policy on Intellectual Property that holds drastic implications for the future of healthcare in the country. However the process is facing endless delays and the pharmaceutical industry are countering our campaign with their own fierce lobbying efforts.
Therefore we would like to engage further with partner organisations who we would like to join us in our struggle to ensure that our patent laws are amended in line with our Constitution and in the best interest of all who live in South Africa.
We therefore cordially invite you to a partner meeting to be held on Monday 18 August 2014 from 1.00pm to 4.30pm at the offices of SECTION27, 23 Jorissen Street, Braamfontein.
Please RSVP to Dimakatso Motaung at email@example.com If your organization would like to attend.
We look forward to seeing you at this crucial meeting.
Treatment Action Campaign