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Posted: 01 December 2017


The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) commemorates World AIDS Day and stands in solidarity with those infected and affected by the epidemic. According to the UNAIDS, “since the start of the epidemic around 78 million have been infected with HIV”, with the same breath, we remember the “35 million who have died from AIDS-related illnesses since the first cases of HIV were reported”.

HIV and AIDS have emerged as one of the foremost challenges for poverty alleviation and development in sub-Saharan Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to nearly 30 million of the world’s 42 million people living with HIV and AIDS. While affecting countless individual lives and livelihood, HIV and AIDS have the potential to undermine Local Governance in all aspects. Through its profound impact on health and human resources, HIV and AIDS can undermine the capacity of Municipalities to carry out their core functions of service delivery.

We, therefore, identified HIV and AIDS as a threat to the economic development of our local communities, it is therefore imperative for municipalities to play an active and pro-active role in HIV and AIDS Prevention and mitigation.

South Africa has made progress with the development of the National strategic Plan (NSP) 2012-2016 which managed to achieve the following amongst other achievements:

•    New HIV infections declining albeit slowly from 360 000 in 2012 to 270 000 in 2016
•    Mother-to-child HIV transmission rates decreased from 3.6% at 6 weeks in 2011 to 1.5% in 2016
•    Life expectancy increased to 64.8 years, with women at 67.7 years and Men at 61.9 years
•    People on antiretroviral therapy increased from 2.4 million in 2012 to 3,7 million people in 2016.

The new NSP (2017-2022) on HIV, TB and STI’s strives to achieve the promotion of leadership at all levels and shared accountability for sustainable responses to HIV, TB and STI’s, Mobilisation of resources to support the achievement of NSP goals and strengthening of strategic information to drive progress towards the achievement of the NSP goals.

Local government leaders and municipalities are best positioned to contribute towards the attainment of these goals, however, Municipalities can only succeed at confronting HIV and AIDS by working closely with all levels of government as well as working with local partners and civil society that are fighting the pandemic at the community level.

As SALGA we will use our capacity to foster an enabling environment by coordination and managing new and existing local responses to HIV and AIDS. Our leaders both politicians and officials must use their positions to fight stigma and facilitate an open community discussion about the real and immediate impact of HIV and AIDS.

We must be consistent in what we do to support and implement National policies and frameworks oriented to the need of the local context.

In committing our support to the interventions on HIV/AIDS, SALGA has on the 1st of December 2016 re-launched the AMICAALL (Alliance of Mayors and Municipal Leaders on HIV/AIDS in Africa) South African Chapter and signed an MOU with IAPAC (International Association of Providers of AIDS Care) and UNAIDS committing to fast track initiatives. SALGA is firstly through the AMICAALL SA Chapter, advocating for a leadership response to HIV and AIDS within local government. Secondly, working with partners, SALGA is in the process of rolling-out the Fast-Track Cities Dashboard at priority municipalities for monitoring of HIV and AIDS within local government.

SALGA also commits to participate and contribute to the initiatives that will end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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