‘... two South Africans killed, one president deposed and another threatened with his life ...’
1. Institute of Security Studies report: ‘Apartheid grand corruption Assessing the scale of crimes of profit from 1976 to 1994’:
‘In 1990, Dr. Raymond Korbin, an East Rand doctor, was shot in the head and dumped in the boot of his car. He had been investigating a cartel which he believed controlled the pharmaceutical industry in South Africa and his death took place a month after he showed a draft of the report to the Sunday Times.114 This case has a chilling echo in December 2004, when Mpumalanga official, Andrew Tladi, was shot and dumped in the boot of his car. At the time he was investigating corruption in multi-million rand tenders that had been awarded by the Mpumalanga Department of Health.115’
114: van Niekerk, Phillip, Just how ‘civilised’ is corruption?, Weekly Mail, 26 February–4 March 1993.
115: Sefara, Makhudu, Anti-graft boss slain in pro-hit, City Press, 19 December 2004.
2. Arturo Illia was President of Argentina from 12 October 1963 to 28 June 1966. His Wikipedia entry records:
‘Law 16.462, also known as ‘Oñativia Law’ (in honor of Minister of Health Arturo Oñativia), was passed on August 28, 1964. It established a policy of price and quality controls for pharmaceuticals, freezing prices for patented medicines at the end of 1963, establishing limits to advertising expenditures and to money sent outside the country for royalties and related payments. The reglamentation [sic] of this law by the Decree 3042/65, also forced pharmaceutical corporations to present, to a judge, an analysis of the costs of their drugs and to formalize all their existing contracts.
Both supporters, detractors and impartial observers of Illia agree that this policy helped array opposition by business interests that was decisive in his eventual overthrow by a military coup.’
3. Rev Frank Chikane, Director General of former President Thabo Mbeki’s presidency office, published his memoirs in January 2010: No Life Of My Own: An Autobiography. Independent Newspapers published excerpts in July, with more in October focusing on Mbeki and AIDS. He wrote:
‘There had been so many complexities during my time under Mbeki and Motlanthe. These were indeed controversial, to say the least. But, for now, one has to say that, like Ghana’s great leader Kwame Nkrumah, he sometimes walked where angels feared to tread. Many have forgotten that, aside from his personal positions on HIV/Aids, Mbeki also challenged the pharmaceutical industry in terms of its pricing and monopolies that made antiretrovirals and other medicines for developing countries more expensive. He also challenged the use of certain medicines that was different from the way in which they were used in developed countries. Key among the debates was the matter of nevirapine. Taking on the international pharmaceutical industry was like taking on the Mafia. And, when I look back on tough times like those, I feel that, like Nkrumah, it was probably Mbeki’s intellectual prowess which sank him. It sucked him further and further into dangerous territory. Honesty, perhaps, was his – and Nkrumah’s – downfall. They could not look at anything that bothered them and keep quiet, however risky speaking up may have been. Our 2002 presidential visit to the US was soon turned into a tour to drive us towards a particular position on HIV and Aids. And what I heard throughout our meetings was that Mbeki’s life was at great risk. To the pharmaceutical industry, every statement he made that questioned the strategies and marketing of medicines to developing countries was dangerous. He was concerned. But if we said no, this would mean a dramatic reduction in the revenues and profits of those pharmaceutical companies internationally. I returned from the US that year afraid for the president. I realised that the risk to his life would clearly be from external forces rather than from his own people. But that is another story.’
4. In CASTRO HLONGWANE, CARAVANS, CATS, GEESE, FOOT & MOUTH AND STATISTICS: HIV/AIDS and the Struggle for the Humanisation of the African by then President Mbeki and other ANC leaders, and circulated for discussion at an ANC NEC meeting in March 2002, Mbeki himself remarked on the hazards of resisting the business agenda of the pharmaceutical industry:
'This monograph discusses the vexed question of HIV/AIDS.
It is based on the assumption that to understand this matter, it is necessary to study it.
It does not accept the assertion that only scientists and medical doctors are capable of understanding this medical condition. Written essentially by non-scientists, it nevertheless seeks to understand the scientific logic of the thesis of HIV/AIDS.
It accepts that there are many unanswered scientific questions about the HIV/AIDS thesis and many hypotheses about this matter that are falsely presented as facts.
It recognises the reality that there are many people and institutions across the world that have a vested interest in the propagation of the HIV/AIDS thesis, because they have too much to lose if any important element of this thesis is proved to be false.
It accepts that these include the pharmaceutical companies, which are marketing anti-retroviral drugs that can only be sold, and therefore generate profits, on the basis of the universal acceptance of the assertion that "HIV causes AIDS".
It also accepts that among those that share the vested interests of these companies are governments and official health institutions, inter-governmental organisations, official medical licensing and registration institutions, scientists and academics, media organisations, non-governmental organisations and individuals.
It recognises that there are many well-meaning institutions and individuals in our country and the rest of the world who have innocently accepted and propagate the positions advanced by those who share these vested interests.
It accepts that these have to be exposed to the truth, in the conviction that their consciences will enable them to side with the truth against the untruth, provided that they are informed of the truth.
It also accepts that the HIV/AIDS thesis as it has affected and affects Africans and black people in general, is also informed by deeply entrenched and centuries-old white racist beliefs and concepts about Africans and black people. At the same time as this thesis is based on these racist beliefs and concepts, it makes a powerful contribution to the further entrenchment and popularisation of racism.
It further recognises the reality that, driven by fear of their destruction as a people because of an allegedly unstoppable plague, Africans and black people themselves have been persuaded to join and support a campaign whose result is further to entrench their dehumanisation.
In this context, it recognises the reality that in our own country, the unstated assumption about everything to do with HIV/AIDS is that, as a so-called "pandemic", HIV/AIDS is exclusively a problem manifested among the African people.
It recognises the fact that for the whole truth to emerge, and nothing but the truth, a difficult struggle will have to be waged to overcome the determined resistance of those who have a vested interest in the perpetuation and entrenchment of the currently dominant HIV/AIDS propositions.
It also recognises the frightening and dangerous reality that some of those who share this vested interest are ready and willing to do everything in their power to ensure that their view prevails, globally. This includes the use of any means and measures whatsoever, with no holds barred, to destroy and remove all those who oppose them.
It therefore warns that those who open their minds to what is contained in this document as a whole should understand that they expose themselves to many hazards and dangers that may pose a threat to their careers, their future and their lives.
The monograph accepts that our people, and others elsewhere in Africa and the rest of the world, face a serious problem of AIDS.
It accepts the determination that AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.
It accepts that a Syndrome is a collection of diseases. It proceeds from the assumption that the collection of diseases generally described as belonging to the AIDS syndrome have known causes.
It rejects as illogical the proposition that AIDS is a single disease caused by a singular virus, HIV.
In other words, it accepts that AIDS is either a syndrome or a disease. It cannot be both. Its acronym correctly describes it as a syndrome. For this reason, it is not described as AIDD.
It accepts that an essential part of AIDS is immune deficiency. This constitutes the ID in AIDS.
It accepts that this immune deficiency may be acquired, accounting for the A in AIDS.
It asserts that there are many conditions that cause acquired immune deficiency, including malnutrition and disease.
It therefore argues that, in our situation, many and varied interventions have to be made to protect and strengthen the immune systems of our people.
It accepts that these include attention to our nutrition and the eradication of the diseases of poverty that afflict millions of our people.
It accepts that a vaccine should be developed to strengthen the immune system so as to reduce its exposure to the possibility of deficiency.
It accepts that HIV may be one of the causes of this immune deficiency, but cannot be the only cause.
It accepts the proposition that currently existing kits used to check the existence or otherwise of HIV give a "positive" result in response to a variety of medical conditions.
Accordingly, it accepts the assertion that these kits do not establish the presence or absence in the human body of HIV.
It accepts the proposition that these kits detect the presence of antibodies produced by the immune system to fight conditions in the human body that the immune system identifies as a threat to good health.
It rejects as baseless and self-serving the assertion that millions of our people are HIV positive.
It supports the proposition that correct medical practice demands that each person should be treated for any illness identified through clinical examination, regardless of their "HIV status".
It therefore rejects the condemnation of people to a slow death on the basis that they are HIV infected, which condition cannot be reversed.
It accepts the proposition that anti-retroviral drugs can neither cure AIDS nor destroy the HI virus.
It therefore rejects the suggestion that the challenge of AIDS in our country can be solved by resort to anti-retroviral drugs.
It rejects the assertion that, among the nations, we have the highest incidence of HIV infection and AIDS deaths, caused by sexual immorality among our people.
It rejects the claim that AIDS is the single largest cause of death in our country.
It argues that we must understand properly and comprehensively the burden of disease and death in our country and ensure that we follow appropriate health and other policies to address this burden, including treatment.
It accepts that the pursuit of the objective of health for all must continue to be one of the central objectives of our government and society.
It argues that while those who have commercial and political interests in the promotion of anti-retroviral drugs, and insulting our people, pursue an agenda aimed at minimising and denying the real causes of illness and death in our country, we have a responsibility to understand these real causes of illness and death.
It rejects the argument to "break the silence" about AIDS by imposing the silence of the grave about diseases of poverty.
It is opposed to the medicalisation of poverty.
It argues that an all-round approach should be adopted to deal with AIDS, focusing in particular on prevention of any infection or condition that might lead to immune deficiency, including sexually transmitted diseases.
It argues that an all-round approach should be adopted to deal with all diseases that affect our people.
It is based on the proposition that each one of our citizens has a responsibility to take all necessary measures to protect his or her health.
It rejects as fundamentally incorrect and anti-democratic the attempt to transfer the responsibility to look after oneself to the state, which seeks to turn the state into an omnipotent apparatus that must even police the sexual activities of every individual South African.
It asserts that it is important that the government and society as a whole should ensure that the citizen has all the necessary information to be able to discharge the responsibility to conduct himself or herself in a responsible manner.
The monograph accepts the responsibility of the state to do everything it can to provide adequate and affordable health care for all our citizens. This must include treatment of the so-called opportunistic diseases, including TB and STD's.
It argues for loyalty to the truth and a refusal on the part of the government and the people to succumb to pressures that are directed at serving particular commercial and political interests at the expense of the health of our people.
It rejects the assertion that, as Africans, we are prone to rape and abuse of women and that we uphold a value system that belongs to the world of wild animals, and that this accounts for the alleged "high incidence" of "HIV infection" in our country.
It enjoins all our people to think for themselves, refusing to be intimidated or terrorised by those who have powerful voices and the backing of the fabulous wealth we do not have, because we are poor.
It recognises that the effort it took to produce this monograph will only be meaningful to the extent that we, as Africans, have the courage, integrity and self-confidence to think and act independently and correctly, in our own interest.
It accepts that ours are a courageous, principled and confident people, who have demonstrated these qualities over many centuries.
The monograph is based on the recognition of the fact that the HIV/AIDS issue is both scientific/medical and profoundly political.
It accepts the proposition that despite the reality that our world is driven by a value system based on financial profit and individual material reward, the notion of human solidarity remains a valid precept governing human behaviour.
The monograph seeks to advance the cause both of better health for all our people and the recovery of our dignity as black people and human beings. These are fundamental to our very being as a movement and a people and therefore do not permit of any compromise.
In his book, "Eros & Civilisation", (Sphere Books, London: 1970), Herbert Marcuse wrote of our epoch as "a period when the omnipotent apparatus punishes real non-conformity with ridicule and defeat... "
And so it has come to pass that anybody who has dared to question any of the above allegedly established scientific truths, has been confronted by this omnipotent apparatus. Accordingly, it has punished non-conformity with ridicule, defeat and worse.
Given that our minds on this matter have become thoroughly clogged by the information communicated by the omnipotent apparatus, a miracle will have to be achieved to get all our people to use their brains, rather than perish on emotional responses based on greatly heightened levels of fear.
But for the omnipotent apparatus the most important thing is the marketing of the anti-retroviral drugs.
Unfortunately for us, and the scientists, the omnipotent apparatus denounces these views as being non-conformist and therefore totally unacceptable. It condemns them as belonging to a school of thought categorised as "dissident" and genocidal. They must therefore be suppressed.
The omnipotent apparatus denounces them as constituting a "denial". When we seek to act within the parameters of the very health paradigm contained in the paragraphs we have quoted, this is condemned as "fiddling while Rome burns."
Our struggle for drugs and medicines that would be affordable to the millions of our poor people, was repudiated as a betrayal of the sacred principle of property rights, and a disastrous slap in the face of foreign investors.
The failure to ascribe the entire burden of disease that afflicts our people exclusively to the HI Virus earned our leaders the characterisation that they are genocidaires.
Stridently and openly, the omnipotent apparatus disapproves of our effort seriously to deal with the serious challenge in our country of health, poverty and underdevelopment. It is determined that it will stop at nothing until its objectives are achieved. What it seeks is that we should do its bidding, in its interests.
In this respect, all of us are obliged to chant that HIV=AIDS=Death! We are obliged to abide by the faith, and no other, that our immune systems are being destroyed solely and exclusively by the HI Virus. We must repeat the catechism that sickness and death among us are primarily caused by a heterosexually transmitted HI Virus. Then our government must ensure that it makes anti-retroviral drugs available throughout our public health system.
But first of all, we have to repeat in unison – HIV causes AIDS causes Death!
According to this argument, necessarily, therefore, the two principal and decisive responses open to us, to respond to Africa's health challenges, are the use of condoms and the consumption of anti-retroviral drugs. Everything else that causes ill health and death among us, the omnipotent apparatus argues, is of peripheral importance.
Those who have imbibed the faith that millions among us are infected by a deadly HI Virus, will disbelieve the assertion that the work of isolating our unique HI Virus has not been done. The omnipotent apparatus will scream loudly that the telling of this truth constitutes the very heart of the criminal non-conformity that must be denounced and repressed by all means and at all costs.
The fact of the matter, however, is that the omnipotent apparatus has succeeded to convince everybody that all that needs to be done is to reduce the price of the drugs, and all problems of cost will be solved!
The problem with all this is that, here, we are dealing with matters of life and death. The issues we are discussing have to do with the lives of millions of people. This does not allow for any recklessness or anything other than a rigorous understanding of all the matters we have raised, and others besides.
It does not permit of submission to a herd-instinct, to which many of us are so prone. Because we are dealing here with science and facts, we cannot allow the truth to be defeated by perceptions, faith and fear of the omnipotent apparatus.
In this situation, we have to accept that the search for the truth will be denounced and punished by the omnipotent apparatus as unacceptable non-conformity.
Conscious of the might of the omnipotent apparatus, Marcuse said:
"The price of progress is frightfully high, but we shall overcome. Not only the deceived victims but also their chief of state have said so."
Writing about "Colonial War and Mental Disorders", Frantz Fanon said:
"We have since 1954 in various scientific works drawn the attention of both French and international psychiatrists to the difficulties that arise when seeking to 'cure' a native properly, that is to say, when seeking to make him thoroughly a part of a social background of the colonial type. (For example: when a Nkosi is transformed into a Johnson. <Our addition.>)
"Because it is a systematic negation of the other person and a furious determination to deny the other person all attributes of humanity, colonialism forces the people it dominates to ask themselves the question constantly: 'In reality, who am I?'"
But we have asked the questions that we have, of scientists, of the intelligentsia of the world. Since we have done this, because we could not do otherwise, Marcuse may be proved to have been correct, that:
"Historical backwardness may again become the historical chance of turning the wheel of progress to another direction."
But for this to happen will require of us, and the scientists, the courage to face up to the omnipotent apparatus, conscious of its power and capacity to punish non-conformity. The question is – do we have a choice!
In spite of our friends, the friends of Africa, we must stand up to say that we have had enough of the insults that demean Africans, whatever their nationality. The time has come that we gather the courage and the intellect to say that we too are human, as human as any other human being.
We are neither freaks, nor do we behave like freaks.
We have never been barbarians and are not now.
We are poor.
We live in conditions of under-development.
We are concentrated within the tropics and suffer from and enjoy the physical conditions that nature has imposed on this part of the globe.
None of this makes us sub-human.
Nor should the impact of disease, including AIDS, that afflicts us, be used in the name of questionable science and friendship with us, to reduce us to a peculiar species of humanity likely to slip back into a state of savagery.