God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

State of the Nation Address

Yesterday was the big day – the state of the nation address was delivered by President Jacob Zuma – a colorful event and full benches – everybody seems to have the urge to show off their importance and what’s best in the wardrobe at home. Tastes and styles are indeed different, but important was what the President had to say about the state of the nation.
Experiencing service delivery protests all over the country, being plagued by mining strikes, a free-falling rand at times, scandals like Gupta, Nakandla and so much more, one would have expected a speech facing the realities and encouraging the people and politicians to tackle these obstacles and showing light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe too much expectations.
What I heard was a summary of 20 years one party rule  – only striving on some of the issues without addressing them proper or offering any solution. The repeated promised for millions of jobs sounded empty – to bring the service delivery protests in connection with success of the ruling party, so that only those not attended to are protesting was somehow genius and unbelievable at the same time.
HIV was mentioned – the words “resistance” and “cracking health system” I didn’t hear nor did I hear about the plight of TB especially in the Western part of the country.
I asked myself how a president perceived to be corrupt can talk about rooting out corruption. I hoped to hear that word “Wingfield” and housing to acknowledge that since years the government stalls efforts to give national land away for housing projects of the province.
I must say, I was disappointed about the performance, contents and tone was at no time encouraging – it sounded like the German slogan “weiter so” – just continuation of the situation as is as there is anyhow nobody else who could take over.
The state of the nation address is about a government set into a democratic onset – I would have expected some words about the working of parliament, how democracy can be developed further and that stones in the hand of protesters are no valid arguments to avoid other parties toi-toi.
So according to the President the last 20 years period of time was a success story – which is in part true as the country has not encountered civil war or similar. But maybe it was not because of the government but despite the government. I acknowledge that governing in our world coming from a liberation and struggle background may be tough and mistakes are made. But why did I not hear any meaningful reflection on what might be wrong, why not admitting that there are challenges ahead we only can solve if all spheres of government and all political players, be it the ruling party or the opposition plays its role.
As a president it is his task to encourage people of the country to go for more democracy and to explain that violence is not a political argument.
Let’s face it: the country is in turmoil in the moment – also attributed to election time – and it feels there are more challenges than achievements. Even if this is just a feeling, it would have been nice to be addressed. I had the feeling that we saw a President who will have to struggle to survive the next 5 years in office. The coming time will be full of surprises, but there is no doubt that on the 7th of May the ANC will win again the majority.

Working in the fields of HIV and AIDS, which has had its success stories in the last years without doubt, we need an environment where those stories can succeed and new ones added. For that we need a stable country, less corruption also in the health sector and an end to service deliver protests which stops people from attending clinics and taking their life saving medications. We need proper housing outside wetlands to prevent TB and proper sanitation to avoid Cholera, Typhus and other diseases. So politics plays a vital role for the health of its citizen and for an NGO, the rule of law and a proper partnership with the state authorities based on mutual understanding and not just “like and dislike depending on party affiliation” is needed.

Filed under: General, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Politics can produce drug resistance

It will be a hot and contested election year in South Africa – and the heat is starting to be felt with all the manifestos and declarations but also toi-toi’s and service delivery protests. The DA want’s to march towards Luthuli House, Khayelitsha residence fight for better sanitation systems, AMCU is on strike again at the Platinum mines – people are going for their convictions onto the streets and politics one or the other way dictates for a lot of people how they spend their days. The question I would like to ask is whether with all those emotions boiling over are people still taking care of their health? Do people have time to go to the clinics to take their TB medication; do they think of appointments with doctors and nursing staff and do they take their anti-retroviral treatment as prescribed if they are in need of it?

We often hear that in times of unrest, civil war health issues are on the back-burner when it comes to people’s minds – often they don’t have the opportunity to organize their health related obligations to keep fit. But I believe even on the low-level of service delivery protests and strikes and marches we can see the problem arising of not adherence to life saving medication. We pride ourselves to put more and more people on those medication but we seem not to be able to ensure the proper compliance when politics takes over. With 2 million and still counting for example on anti-retroviral treatment, there must be a concern about their well-being in those heated days.
When we saw the poo-protesters on the N2 motorway many times last year – those questions of adherence and compliance were always on my mind. Knowing how big the restrains are already on the health system we can’t effort more resistant bugs. And reading this morning about the thoughts of government officials to let people pay if they self-inflict their health problems – non-compliance because of toi-toi might be also falling soon under that label. It might sound far-fetched – but country and society are in such a crazy mood in many quarters – let’s work together that we care about compliance and adherence, be it TB or HIV or any other of those disease bringing down a person if not treated in a proper way.

Filed under: General, HIV and AIDS, HIV Treatment, Politics and Society, Reflection, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A bit of spring cleaning…

Just a little bit of spring cleaning for the blog, here and there some changes and off we go – ready for all what will come in the coming month. Marikana and all the other strikes indicate that South Africa is going into a rough time – also thanks to Zuma, Malema and the question who gets the top at the ANC conference.

We must take good care not to lose it – that 3000 illegal striking people with partly new weapons (watch the footage) stop 21000 other people willing to work – and that all outside the unions – shows what potential for trouble we have. Stoning and killing people who want to work, endangering lives like now in Gauteng with the truck driver are alarm bells for our society.
It time for our politicians and those in power to stop to look for themselves and their families and clans but deliver to those in need. Just not only pay lip services but mean their Sunday sermons. Crime rate, corruption, unemployment, a rotting health deliver in parts of the country despite new buildings – its time that everybody does their spring cleaning and start afresh.

South Africa has so many possibilities – lets work together to create a future for all. Everybody in his or her environment. And please, for the bigger part no apartheid excuses anymore – the rainbow nations is full of South Africans, right?

Filed under: General, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

14th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenNovember 16th, 2019
57 days to go.

Ball of HOPE 2020

Join us @ The Westin in Cape TownMay 23rd, 2020
8 months to go.
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