On March 21st, 600 volunteers are expected to take part in a civil disobedience campaign in South Africa. The protest is sponsored by a large grassroots AIDS activist group, the Treatment Action Campaign, or TAC. It says the South African government is not doing enough to battle the AIDS pandemic, which it says is lowering the country’s life expectancy in some areas to 40 years.
Nonkosi Khumalo is the National Women’s Health Program’s coordinator for the Treatment Action Campaign. From Cape Town, she spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the reasons for the civil disobedience campaign.
She says despite years of negotiations with the government, officials are “dragging their feet” in implementing a treatment program for those infected with the AIDS virus, HIV.
She says the non-violent civil disobedience will include the occupying of offices in government buildings and parliament. Ms. Khumalo says 600 people a day are dying of AIDS in South Africa.
Although the government is concerned about the cost of treatment programs, she says, “The cost of not treating is greater than the cost of treating.”
Click above links to download or listen to De Capua interview on planned protests.