Head of South Africa’s Independent Democrats Party Receives HIV/AIDS Activist Award From Canadian Volunteer Group
The Toronto-based not-for-profit volunteer group South African Women for Women on Sunday awarded Patricia de Lille, head of South Africa's Independent Democrats party, its HIV/AIDS Activist Award for her work to combat the disease in South Africa, the Panafrican News Agency reports (Panafrican News Agency, 8/11). De Lille, who was once voted the "second-most popular" politician in South Africa behind former President Nelson Mandela, has been an "outspoken" opponent of the ruling African National Congress party for its "unwillingness to recognize" the seriousness of the AIDS epidemic in the country, the Toronto Star reports (Taylor, Toronto Star, 8/11). De Lille last week called for the establishment of an HIV/AIDS Truth Commission before which "all alleged perpetrators" of human rights abuses connected to the HIV/AIDS pandemic would appear, the Panafrican News Agency reports. She said that South African Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and President Thabo Mbeki should be the first to appear before the commission to answer for their "sins" (Panafrican News Agency, 8/11). De Lille said upon receiving her award, "When you face the cold face of HIV/AIDS, when you see how many people are dying, when there's complete denial of the problem by the people who wear cufflinks, it's not been easy" to fight the disease (Toronto Star, 8/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.