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Shadow Health Minister: Ramaphosa Must Stop Criselda Kananda-Dudumashe’s Appointment To AIDS Council

Kananda-Dudumashe is not fit to serve on the SANAC Board given the numerous concerning public comments she has made.

23/08/2017 03:57 SAST | Updated 23/08/2017 03:57 SAST
Alexander Joe/ AFP/Getty Images
Criselda Kananda, a South African radio personality and Aids activists in Johannesburg.

We respect Mme Criselda Kananda-Dudumashe, we also understand and respect her personal choice to use alternative treatment for HIV/AIDS. However, in her capacity as a public figure, she should be mindful of the utterances she makes to the public on health issues such as this. Dudumashe has many followers and as such many South Africans may believe what she says.

The DA is of the belief that Kananda-Dudumashe is not fit to serve on the SANAC Board given the numerous concerning public comments she has made. Some of these comments include:

  • In a news article released on 26 June 2014 it is was stated that "Kananda, who has tested HIV positive herself told the Citizen newspaper she will never take antiretrovirals because they are deadly and easy way out".
  • Further, she allegedly also "insists that HIV does not cause AIDS and that AIDS is instead the result of a compromised immune system, of living an unhealthy lifestyle and being attacked by infectious diseases".

South Africa has a history of many people who had been in denial of their status due to comments such as those uttered by Dudumashe, which stem from a denialist attitude of HIV/AIDS.

More than 300,000 South Africans lost their lives because of the AIDS denialism of the Mbeki-administration.

We believe that deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, is the one who has the authority to appoint members to the Board of the South African National AIDS Council [SANAC] and before he can make such an appointment, he must consider all of the public utterances that were made by Dudumashe as we do not want people misled.

As South Africans, we have the freedom of association and the freedom of belief and because we are a democratic country, we respect the personal views and beliefs of individuals. However, as a public figure, whatever you say, it no longer becomes about you alone because of the reach you have to the people who follow you.

We need to be wary of such utterances as the majority of the South Africans affected by HIV/AIDS are vulnerable people, some of whom who do not have the necessary knowledge on this and rely on what they are told by health practitioners and public figures. We have seen how detrimental AIDS denialism is. More than 300,000 South Africans lost their lives because of the AIDS denialism of the Mbeki-administration.

It is also unfortunate that there is no public process in place to appoint this board, therefore we appeal that these utterances are looked into as well as the consequences which may stem from them. Dudumashe's influence could result in people living with HIV/AIDS defaulting on their treatment which could potentially have deadly consequences on all matters pertaining to HIV/AIDS in our country.

Ms Kananda-Dudumashe's utterances clearly suggest that she is not fit to hold any position on the SANAC Board.

The DA respects Kananda-Dudumashe's personal choice for alternative treatments of HIV/AIDS. However, millions of South Africans who are affected by the epidemic, depend on antiretrovirals every day to treat their illness.

Ms Kananda-Dudumashe's past comments on HIV/AIDS are misleading and irresponsible, especially as a public figure. The fact that she is so blatantly opposed to ARVs and does not believe that HIV causes AIDS is cause for grave concern.

Ms Kananda-Dudumashe's utterances clearly suggest that she is not fit to hold any position on the SANAC Board.

South Africa has come a long way since the devastating policies of the previous administration and we must not repeat those mistakes again.