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Media Centre  |  COSATU Press Statements

Mobilise South Africans on World Aids Day

07-11-08

On 5th November at the South African Business Conference on AIDS, a meeting took place between Sdumo Dlamini, President of COSATU, Jerry Vilakazi, President of Business Unity South Africa and Mark Heywood, Deputy Chairperson of the South African National A IDS Council.

The meeting discussed how labour and business could work together to guarantee a unique national mobilisation around AIDS on World AIDS Day 2008.

Sdumo Dlamini pledged that COSATU will work with the Treatment Action Campaign, the SA National Aids Council, business and the rest of civil society for a month of action at workplaces and in communities in support of HIV prevention and treatment during th e month of November, culminating in a 30-minute national work stoppage at mid-day on 1 December -World Aids Day, to allow the country to have a 30-minute dialogue to talk about HIV.

The proposal is that schools, government departments and work places organize short events to focus on individual responsibilities to prevent and treat HIV and listen to a broadcast message from the Government.

It will also be a day when tens of thousands of people seek voluntary counselling and testing. "It is often said HIV and AIDS is a silent killer or epidemic," said the COSATU President. "That is because people are afraid to know their status by testing. Th is fear is itself bred by the fear of stigmatisation, isolation, discrimination and sense of shame. Even where resources are available evidence suggests that voluntary testing is still not routinely conducted. Availability of treatment across the public se ctor seems not to add positively to the numbers of people that voluntarily test. Unless we turn the tide on this HIV and AIDS will continue to silently ravage our nation."

Other business people who confirmed their participation are the head of underground operations at Anglo Coal. John Standish-White indicated that we can have this activity in their mine, including the 30-minutes work stoppage and VCT.

Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)

Congress of South African Trade Unions

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