The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) will have to close in January 2012, unless the Global Fund meets its contractual agreement.
The TAC is an award winning South African social movement campaigning to save the lives of people living with HIV and TB.
In a statement issued on Wednesday November 23 by Nonkosi Khumalo, the TAC chairperson, the organisation said, “As a grant-funded organisation we just cannot afford to run a deficit… besides the fact that over 230 activist organisers will lose their income, the closure of TAC would be a setback for South African democracy.”
The TAC chairperson said, “In the 12 years since it was established TAC has helped to save and better millions of people’s lives in South Africa. It has also contributed to the deepening of democracy in South Africa, through its use of the courts, advocacy and promotion of human rights constitutionalism.”
She added, “Internationally, TAC has been one of the most influential Aids activist movements; an organisation that has catalysed action on HIV/Aids across the world. Yet today TAC faces a real threat of imminent closure due to a dire funding crisis.”
TAC depends on a five-year grant from the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) for a large portion of its work. In July 2011, the organisation failed to receive its R6.5m ($760,000) payment.
Nonkosi Khumalo blamed the failure on the National department of health saying, “However, primarily due to poor administration by the Primary Recipient, the National Department of Health, the payment of the tranche to all sub-recipients continues to be delayed.”
She added, “The consequence of this is that TAC faces an acute cash flow crisis. Unless the tranche due is paid to TAC by the first week of January, we will go into an unsustainable deficit in February 2012, which means that we would have to retrench all our staff and close our offices at the end of January 2012.”
However according to a report by the South African Press Association, SAPA, Department of Health spokesperson Fidel Hadebe said he would only be able to comment on the payments once he had met with the GFATM.
He added, “I find it difficult to comment because I have no details on what they [TAC] are saying. I will only be able to say something tomorrow [Thursday].”
Meanwhile according to TAC, “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.”
TAC has helped save one and a half millions lives.
The statement gave a run down of TAC’s current activities and future programmes, saying, “Our organisation continues to do critical work to alleviate the HIV and TB epidemics.”
TAC exposed the Tara Klamp debacle and has won numerous complaints at the Advertising Standards Authority against quack health practitioners. TAC has been an outspoken civil society voice on diverse issues, from the Medicines Control Council’s recent court case against Adcock Ingram to denouncing the Protection of State Information Bill.
The statement said, “TAC members have ensured that the justice system has prosecuted murderers and rapists in places like Khayelitsha. We also need to exist in order to enforce several court orders we have won over the years and to fight upcoming court cases, such as one against Christ Embassy, a church whose public advertisements have in the past claimed that they can cure Aids.”
Finally the statement made a plea to supporters: Please support TAC by writing to the Department of Health and the Global Fund, demanding that they finalise the next tranche and ensure the sub-recipients are paid. Please email the Director General of Health, Ms Precious Matsotso (firstname.lastname@example.org), and the Director of the Global Fund, Michel Kazatchkine (michel.kazatchkine@ theglobalfund.org).
Please also make a tax deductible donation to TAC via Greater Good. US donors can give via the South Africa Development Fund on Network for Good.