SECTION27 is a public interest law centre that seeks to influence, develop and use the law to protect, promote and advance human rights. Our name is drawn from the section in the South African Constitution which enshrines everyone's right to health care, food, water and social security.
On Monday 31 May Business Day reported that because of the deepening financial crisis facing health services in the provinces the Minister of Health is discussing a “bail-out” of provincial departments of health by the Treasury. Treasury intervention is now vital to prevent the collapse of health services. But equally important is the resolution of the crisis facing financial management systems that led to the massive debt in the first place.
It is a terrible irony that the need for an effective and ongoing response to the AIDS epidemic will be one of the defining legacies left to the ANC by a President who tried to deny the existence of HIV. It is also ironic that the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), an organization that Mbeki once branded as ‘flag carrier for pharmaceutical companies’, is heralded one of the few organizations that was able to force a complete overturn policy in an area defined and defended by himself, during his Presidency.
This chapter examines the experience of one of South Africa‟s foremost pro-poor civil society movements, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), and uses it to reflect on the role that was played by social justice organisations during Mbeki‟s presidency (1999-2008).