While I am not an ANC member and will probably never be one, the rubbishing of the late Dr. Mantombazana Tshabalala-Msimang on trumped-up charges by The Citizen columnist, Michael Coetzee and condemning her in the manner he did should and will not go unchallenged, (The Citizen, December 24. 2009).

It is absolute twaddle to concoct outrageous statistics that in 40 years the Apartheid regime killed only 2000 while HIV/AIDS kills 1000 people every day. Millions of Africans died of preventable diseases, malnutrition in the mines and prisons. What about cross-border raids and Apartheid South Africa’s destabilization of the Frontline states in the then SADCC region in the 1970’s and 1980’s that resulted in the deaths of more than 5 million children, according to a UNICEF report during that time?

Retroviruses sometimes destroy the cells whose DNA they alter, as with HIV, and sometimes cause them to become cancerous, as with the viruses that cause certain leukemias. Retroviruses were discovered and/or engineered not so long ago. Biotechnologists want to harness the viruses’ capabilities to use as a tool.

The medical profession, especially in the US is still experimenting with retroviruses. This is a tricky experiment because viruses can end up infecting people. As one Neuroscientist pointed out, viruses are pretty crafty and can easily get around safeguards biotechnologists try to put up. Many in the medical profession think there is potential in using retroviruses to cure genetic diseases and are looking into retroviruses as therapeutics.

They also believe that the more they learn about retroviruses, the better they can treat people who have them. So by their own admission, the medical profession does not know much about retroviruses. As such the antiretroviral drug therapy is still an experiment which the US wants to test in South Africa.

Under the stewardship of former President Thabo Mbeki, Dr Tshabalala-Msimang refused to allow South Africans to be used as guinea-pigs. So why was Dr Tshabalala-Msimang crucified and lynched for using her professional discretion and prerogative? Those who continue to berate the late doctor are obviously doing the pharmaceutical companies’ dirty job. Unfortunately under the current buffoon’s administration the pharmaceutical companies will have their way.

By Sam Ditshego


  1. I discussed retroviruses. I want readers to think about recombinant viruses and consider whether or not there is no relationship between retroviruses and recombinant viruses. A recombinant virus is produced by recombining pieces of DNA using recombinant DNA technology. This may be used to produce viral vaccines or gene therapy vectors. Could HIV be a recombinant virus? Dr Robert Strecker says HIV is a recombinant virus. Why don’t our best scientists and medical doctors consider the possibility that HIV might be a recombinant virus instead of sticking to the orthodox theory of western governments and pharmaceutical companies? They don’t want to be party poopers since they get research funding from these sources. They sacrifice their principles at the altar of expediency. Shame unto them.

  2. I have just read a ridiculous article by Jeremy Laurance in today’s (6th Januarvy) the Star newspaper headlined, “When viruses jump species barries” suggesting that viruses and other disease-causing agents can jump from one species from the other. There’s no mention of viruses that are deliberately engineer and experimented on people. I can’t believe in this time and age the Star can publish an article purporting that HIV originates from chimpanzeen in Africa. It does no longer originate from green monkeys. They can change the names of primates from which they claim HIV originates, that theory has long been debunked as scientifically untenable. Whdt also frustrates is the fact the Star owners, and not Sol Makgabutlane will not countenance a contrary opinion, especially when it comes from an African because they don’t want an African to out-class a white man with facts like the Citizen did concerning the nonsensical article Michael Coetzee wrote about the late Dr Mantombazana Tshabalala-Msimang and antiretrovirals. I wrote to challenge Coetzee but the Citizen refused to publish my response. It was this on-line magazine that published my extended riposte challenging Coetzee. I am also going to challenge Laurance and see if the Star will publish it. I am also going to send it to this publication.

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