A TAC march on Parliament, Feb 2003 (Source: TAC website)
In a shocking development the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), a strong ally of the LGBTI community, has announced it could close in January.
In a statement on Wednesday, the 12-year-old organisation said that due to alleged incompetence by the Department of Health, an expected funding payment from the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria continues to be delayed.
If the TAC does not receive the R6.5 million in funding soon, it will run out of money in January.
The TAC has won awards around the world for its campaigns and actions to save the lives of people living with HIV and TB in South Africa.
Through its use of the courts, it was able to force the South African government, during its period of AIDS denialism, to begin to supply ARVs to needy people.
It has also battled AIDS-cure claims by quacks and religious organisations and supported court cases against those accused of the corrective rape and murder of lesbian women.
“Besides the fact that over 230 activist organisers will lose their income, the closure of TAC would be a setback for South African democracy,” said the TAC’s chairperson, Nonkosi Khumalo.
“This crisis is not of our making. Our finances are a model of transparency and good governance. All our audits have been clean and are available on our website,” added
In related news, on Wednesday, the Global Fund announced that it has been forced to suspend new funding for the first time in its 10 year history due to declining donor funding.
This comes as a blow amid new optimism by UNAIDS that the HIV epidemic is beginning to be challenged thanks to “science, political support and community responses”.
Without sufficient funding the advances made against the epidemic in recent years could be reversed.