24th January 2013

Re: Media Invite:  Memorial service of Thabo Cele, TAC Activist

TAC leader, Comrade Thabo Cele passed away during December 2012, while he was hospitalized and treated for MDR TB.

Thabo Cele was one of the pioneering members of TAC and was instrumental in forming, building and strengthening of TAC branches in KZN. For the past decade, Thabo has been a shining example to many people by living positively and openly with HIV.

He will be remembered and respected for his humanity, selflessness and his respect for human rights. During the era of Mbeki and Manto he was a voice of voiceless for people living with HIV and fought against misconceptions about HIV, stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV in South Africa.

In 2003, at a TAC Conference, Joyce Pekane, then Cosatu Deputy President, told delegates that civil disobedience should only be considered against an illegitimate government. Thabo responded to her comment by explaining with passion and dignity,  that TAC’s civil disobedience is a direct action against an unjust and illegitimate policy of the government NOT action against ANC government and that TAC accepted the legitimacy of the democratically elected government.

Comrade Thabo always fought to ensure the right of other people to live. However, he was pained at the loss of his partner and never recovered his will to live after her death. In life he taught us and in death we must ensure that everyone recovers the will to live.

TAC acknowledges the work that is done by the KZN government and civil society in curbing the spread of TB in KZN by providing treatment and relevant support mechanisms to ensure treatment adherence.  Despite this, KZN still has a high TB prevalence rate, and TB still claims many lives.

Thabo’s death was not exceptional. TAC nationally has declared war on TB – with a special focus on TB in prisons and mines. TAC will continue to campaign for access to better and affordable treatment for MDR and XDR TB. TAC KZN will be focusing on treatment adherence on both TB and ARV’s in memory of Thabo Cele.

Details of the service:

Date: 25 January 2013

Time:10h00

Venue: Durban University of Technology (DUT) ML Sultan Campus, Cane Grower’s hall

Some of the confirmed guest speakers

  1. MEC of Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo,  Government of KZN
  2. Mr. Mark Heywood, TAC National Executive Member and Executive Director of SECTION27
  3. Mr. Zackie Achmat, TAC activist and Board member for Social Justice Coalition

For further details or comment: Patrick Mdletshe, TAC KZN Provincial Chairperson

mdletshe@section27.org.za  Cell: 072 1826 833