HIV/AIDS Epidemic, Poverty Fracturing South Africa’s African National Congress Party, Some Analysts Say
The HIV/AIDS epidemic and poverty are among the issues "driving a wedge" in South Africa's ruling African National Congress party, according to some analysts, Reuters/Independent Online reports. The ANC -- which celebrated its 93rd anniversary on Saturday and is heading into its second decade in power -- needs to stop "blaming decades of apartheid for any failure to sort out the country's many problems," some analysts said, according to Reuters/Independent Online. Current challenges to the party include the HIV/AIDS epidemic -- about one in nine South Africans are HIV-positive; an unemployment rate of about 28%; one of the world's highest crime rates; and a growing gap between rich and poor residents, Reuters/Independent Online reports. Nongovernmental organizations, including the South African HIV/AIDS treatment advocacy group Treatment Action Campaign, have criticized ANC officials for "moving too slowly" in fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic, according to Reuters/Independent Online. Analysts said it was promising that the ANC has revised policies "to better meet the country's development needs," including providing antiretroviral drugs to HIV-positive residents, Reuters/Independent Online reports. However, the government still is "reluctant to drop the rhetoric of liberation," analysts said. "The ANC's challenge is to move above appeals to the past to cover the failures of the moment," Sipho Seepe, academic director of Henley Management College in South Africa, said, adding, "Apartheid cannot be our alibi for failure forever" (Esipisu, Reuters/Independent Online, 1/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.