See also:
» 18.11.2010 - Longer life in SA may reflect AIDS victory
» 18.07.2008 - Mandela frowns at gap between rich and poor
» 06.06.2008 - South Africa's HIV prevalence decreases
» 29.04.2008 - 'South Africa faces threat'
» 08.02.2008 - Mbeki assures 2010 World Cup
» 24.01.2008 - SA urged to introduce PMTCT
» 16.10.2007 - Africa's ARV treatment fails
» 24.08.2007 - ‘Nutrition no substitute for ARV’

China wholesale online through

Houlihan's coupons

Finn autentiske matoppskrifter fra hele verden på
Gazpacho Børek Kartoffelsalat Taboulé Gulasj Albóndigas Cevapi Rougaille Japrak sarma Zwiebelbrot Klopse Giouvetsi Paella Pljeskavica Pica pau Pulpo a la gallega Flammkuchen Langosj Tapenade Chatsjapuri Pasulj Lassi Kartoffelpuffer Tortilla Raznjici Knödel Lentejas Bœuf bourguignon Korianderchutney Brenneslesuppe Proia Sæbsi kavurma Sardinske calamares

Autentiske matoppskrifter fra hele verden finner du på
Réunion Portugal Aserbajdsjan Serbia Tyskland Seychellene Bosnia Spania Libanon Belgia India Kroatia Hellas Italia Ungarn Komorene Georgia Mauritius Østerrike Romania Frankrike

South Africa
Health | Society

South African minister "freaks out" in aircraft

afrol News, 30 April - South Africa's Health Minister is making headlines in Germany and locally. A German resident of South Africa had refused to sit next to Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang on a flight from Germany, accusing her of being responsible for the deaths of thousands of AIDS victims. The Minister was reported to "freak out" as she found out.

- I told the stewardess, I didn't want to sit next to her because she is responsible of the death of thousands of people in South Africa, German businessman Jens von Wichtingen told the German press. Ms Tshabalala's refusal to provide AIDS medicine preventing mother-to-child infections has made the Minister a disputed woman inside and outside South Africa.

On the Lufthansa flight between Frankfurt (Germany) and Cape Town, the two passengers were booked to sit next to each other in the business class department. Mr Wichtingen's refusal to sit next to the Minister caused the latter to explode in anger, according to several witness record.

Mr von Wichtingen says he was repeated yelled at by Minister Tshabalala, who eventually followed him to his new seat, continuing the tirade. "I was trembling of fear," he says, "as the women completely freaked out." A stewardess made a futile attempt to calm down the Minister, who, nonetheless, carried on. Only the intervention of the aircraft's captain succeeded in making Ms Tshabalala return to her seat. The rest of the flight was reported to have been peaceful.

The incident, once known, rapidly made headlines in Germany and South Africa. In Germany, the press was rather amused by the "freaking Minister", although eager to explain the disputed AIDS policies carried out by the ANC government and vigorously defended by the Health Minister.

In South Africa, on the other hand, the incident was viewed with less humour. Parts of the press demanded "respect for the Minister" while others, including the political opposition, were outraged by the Minister's lack of control and her failure to meet the situation with calm argumentation.

Several South African media presented harsh criticism over the Minister's "crude language and uncontrolled behaviour." Fellow passengers had heard Ms Tshabalala telling Mr von Wichtigen to "fuck off" and newspapers shared the passengers' disbelief in the Minister's over-reaction.

The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), made a statement saying Ms Tshabalala-Msimang should be replaced, as she was "an embarrassment" for the country. The DA has issued sharp critiques of the ANC government health policies during several years.

Other opposition parties have expressed similar positions. The United Democratic Movement (UDM) condemned the incident and found it "quite surprising that the Minister should express such indignation when confronted with a simple statement of fact that she is directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of HIV/Aids sufferers." UDM spokesman Nonhlanhla Nkabinde added: "Once again, the Minister has demonstrated with her unbecoming behaviour that she is unfit to serve in Cabinet."

Stakeholders added their voice. The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), South Africa's leading AIDS organisation, agreed the Minister had acted in an unacceptable way, confronted with a feeling the German passenger shared with many South Africans. TAC has spearheaded the fight for free distribution of drugs preventing the mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

The opposition Afrikaaner newspaper 'Die Burger' also managed to have Dr Essop Pahad, Minister of the Presidency, commenting on the incident. Dr Pahad however strongly defended his colleague, saying "South Africa's political leaders deserve more respect." He turned the matter into a racial issue and said too many people did not respect black ministers, 'Die Burger' reports.

The Lufthansa incident has again cast light on South Africa's public debate on how to treat the AIDS disaster as around 12 percent of all inhabitants are infected with HIV. Although the government has been ordered by South African courts to provide AIDS drugs and international drug companies have offered free or cheap AIDS drugs, Ms Tshabalala and her Ministry still refuse to provide these drugs in a large scale.

The DA opposition repeated its position on AIDS medication in a statement earlier this week. Yet another obstacle raised by Minister Tshabalala to the provision of antiretroviral treatment had now been "literally cut down," the party says, as the British pharmaceuticals company GlaxoSmithKline had announced that it is "slashing the price of its HIV/Aids medicines for non-profit groups in poor countries by up to 47 percent."

Welcoming "this bold step by GlaxoSmithKline," the DA asks how the government could "possibly sustain its arguments against providing antiretrovirals a second longer." It was high time the debate over 'if' was replaced by discussions about 'how', the opposition party says.

Also AIDS activists are increasing their resistance to government policies. TAC activists and supporters in March decided to embark on a civil disobedience campaign. TAC protests government's "the reluctance to commit to a treatment plan, including antiretroviral medicines."

- Create an e-mail alert for South Africa news
- Create an e-mail alert for Health news
- Create an e-mail alert for Society news

    Printable version

On the Afrol News front page now

Rwanda succeeds including citizens in formal financial sector

afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.

Famine warning: "South Sudan is imploding"

afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
Panic in West Africa after Ebola outbreak in Guinea

afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
Ethiopia tightens its already strict anti-gay laws

afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
Ethiopia plans Africa's biggest dam

afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.

front page | news | countries | archive | currencies | news alerts login | about afrol News | contact | advertise | español 

©  afrol News. Reproducing or buying afrol News' articles.

   You can contact us at