Thabo Mbeki


In his article in the Mail and Guardian of 5 April 2012, published under the headline “Making sense of the indefensible”, Hein Marais used the word ‘denialist’ three times and ‘denialism’ ten times. He is attempting to show that former President Thabo Mbeki and his inner circle mishandled the Aids epidemic. He writes, “Together, they are said to have devised and enforced an irrational and deadly set of positions that, according to one study, led to about 330,000 avoidable deaths”. Let us examine how irrational and deadly is the position of the so-called “Aids denialists”.

I will begin by quoting from a study which stated that, “Over the years, Aids researchers have pointed to sub-Saharan Africa – Uganda, in particular – as the epicentre of the so-called Aids epidemic. It has been estimated that one in 40 Africans will die of Aids, and that Aids will account for 500,000 deaths a year by the year 2000. But in recent years, some Aids researchers have come forward to question not only the validity of those projections, but the very notion that Aids is pandemic in Africa”.

The makers of “Aids in Africa” one of the “Dispatches” series of documentaries, investigated Aids in sub-Saharan Africa and reached some startling conclusions. Dr. Harvey Bialy said that there was “absolutely no believable evidence of immunodeficiency disease in Africa”. Likewise, Professor Gordon Stewart, the only researcher to accurately predict Aids statistics in the United Kingdom, found no evidence of an Aids epidemic in Africa and believes that statements of doom should be avoided.


President Jacob Zuma delivered his 2011 state of the nation address to parliament. Since the time of Nelson Mandela, we have been hearing the same story every February. Zuma gets his fat cheque every month so are Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament, including those of the opposition and they don’t give two hoots about the poor and unemployed. They are the worst hypocrites.

Praise singing, which was introduced by Nelson Mandela, has gotten out of hand and reflects the parochialism of ethnicity/tribalism. It doesn’t belong to a national institution like the national assembly. Parliament must transcend tribal predilection.


The South African Communist Party (SACP) had a strong grip on the African National Congress (ANC) on questions of theory, strategy and tactics of the national liberation struggle and controlled the ANC. The SACP produced vast reading material such as the African Communist to exert its influence in the liberation struggle through the ANC. They contributed immensely in the drafting of the Freedom Charter which in turn shaped the political perspectives of the ANC.

As part of the drive to steer ANC in the direction of reformism, the SACP deployed its leadership crop and activists…advanced intellectuals… to serve in the ANC top leadership structures. These include Moses Mabida, Thabo Mbeki, Govan Mbeki, Mac Maharaj (who was the architect and executor of Operation Vulindlela), Jeremy Cronin, Joe Slovo (who was once MK Chief of Staff and formulator of the ‘Two Stage Theory’), amongst others. Chris Hani, also Chief of Staff of MK, like Joe Slovo, was influential across the alliance partners, namely, ANC, SACP and COSATU. These intellectuals together with the literature they produced were crucial in the strategy and policy development process of the ANC.


Why is it that governments can find billions of dollars for global sporting events and little to deal with the grinding poverty that affects impoverished populations? Canada applauded itself for the $135-million in aid and disaster relief it sent to an earthquake ravaged Haiti while spending nearly $6-billion on the two-week long Vancouver Olympics. A similar contradiction is revealing itself in South Africa, where massive amounts of public and private spending on the upcoming 2010 Soccer World Cup are expected to salve a faltering economy and crippling poverty. Most South Africans, however, will see little direct or sustained economic benefit from the games let alone muster the funds to even purchase a ticket.

What is trumpeted as a branding and investment remedy to South Africa’s economic woes may very well become another Greek tragedy – where the legacy of the 2004 Athens Olympics has contributed to an economic meltdown. These global games offer dual incentives to both local and foreign business elites and little to a frustrated local population. On the one hand, investment, sponsorship and tourism opens new markets to foreign capital while local business elites profit from a heightened global image. At least, this is the story sold by both the state and World Cup planners. Central to this strategy is selling South Africa as a marketable and consumable brand.

The transition from apartheid to democratic rule in South Africa has been well documented. During this period, the pressures of both domestic and foreign capital forced the emergent African National Congress (ANC) government to follow the economic paradigms of the past and encourage foreign investment. The sanctions that once crippled the economy gave way to a period of increasing investment and relatively stable economic growth. Promoting a comfortable and gentrified image of South Africa perfectly serves the ruling African National Congress’s redistribution through growth policy that is intended to drum up foreign investment while selling off government owned assets. The Soccer World Cup effectively opens these economic and political spaces necessary to further neoliberal policies and development.


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?

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