Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on South Africans to always encourage and care for people living with HIV/Aids in the country.
Speaking to members of the National Council of Provinces on Wednesday on issues of access to education, employment, entrepreneurship and investment, Ramaphosa said patients living with the disease should always be remembered.
He emphasized that people like Fezeka “Khwezi” Kuzwayo should not be forgotten in the history of South Africa because she bravely fought so hard to see that HIV/Aids patients are not stigmatized.
“She is one of those in need, who like many others, we will always want to remember as a person who was afflicted by this disease, and there’ll be a number of occasions and proposals to commemorate her life and the life of others. That is what she would also have wanted,” he added.
Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo was an Aids activist, who made headlines in 2005 after she accused President Zuma of raping her. She was diagnosed with HIV/Aids in 1990. She also refused to take anti-retroviral drugs, in a bid to de-stigmatize the disease.
She died on October after she suffered various illnesses including developing boils from head to toe, difficulty in breathing, and a pain in one of her legs that kept her at one place.
Answering more questions at the event, Ramaphosa announced that a trial of a new HIV drug has kicked off. He expressed hope that this time, the drug would be able to reduce transmission by 50%.
He also told the delegates that the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) will partner with the US National Institute of Health, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline and others in the trial.