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I've never said HIV doesn't cause AIDS - Lekota

Martin Plaut
01 March 2009

In an interview with Martin Plaut in London the COPE leader denies being a denialist

LONDON - In a recent interview the leader of the Congress of the People, Moisuoa Lekota, appeared to deny the link between HIV and Aids. For this he was taken to task by - among others - Mike Waters of the DA. In a statement Mr Waters declared:

"In a recent interview on the subject of HIV/AIDS, Congress of the People (COPE) Leader Moisuoa Lekota has revealed that he, and by implication, the whole of COPE is infected with the AIDS denialism of Thabo Mbeki's era. Mr Lekota, like Mbeki, has refused to state that HIV causes AIDS, has prevaricated on whether he is committed to fighting the disease, and has misrepresented antiretrovirals (ARVs) as dangerous poisons."

On Friday 27th February I had a chance to put a series of questions to Mr Lekota for the BBC, while he was on a visit to London. This is a transcript of that interview.

Martin Plaut: Recently there's been controversy about your stand on HIV and Aids. You were given the opportunity of saying there was a link between HIV and Aids. You ducked it, saying you were not a medical man. This is an opportunity for you to make your position clear. Do you believe there is a link between HIV and Aids?

Moisuoa Lekota: Let me say this much. I have never trained medically and I am not trained medically and I would not have a reason to argue with doctors when they say the "virus causes Aids." It is how all of us operate. The virus causes Aids. I accept that. Because I have no other basis to argue with any other medical doctor. And that's how we in government we have approached this question.

Martin Plaut: So there is no suggestion that you are an Mbeki Aids denialist, as people have said.

Moisuoa Lekota: Mbeki has never represented my views or the views indeed of cabinet. He represented his own views. And the unfortunate thing is that simply because we were members of cabinet the assumption has been that cabinet had taken a decision that the virus does not cause Aids. Cabinet has never taken such a decision. It has always been his own views. Why he went into that polemic I don't know.  And we voted the budget, the money for the battle against Aids, on the basis of our acceptance of the fact that that is the determination and accepted view in the medical circles.

Martin Plaut: And that is something you personally now accept?

Moisuoa Lekota: I have always... Not now. I have always accepted that!

Martin Plaut: So there is no doubt about that position at all?

Moisuoa Lekota: I have never once... I would challenge anybody to quote me as having said at any given time that the virus does not cause Aids. I have never said something like this. I have never held a view like that. 

Martin Plaut: So although you are not a medical person you accept the medical opinion?

Moisuoa Lekota: Oh certainly. Yes. That is what I am saying.

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 responses to this article

mouthpiece

was this a serious interview, or it was just another media ploy to grant free-airtime tfor lekota to campaign?

by anonimas on March 01 2009, 14:50
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disappointing
In plain-talking, Lekota and his crew are losing it. I do not even know what the hell was that.

by anonimas on March 01 2009, 16:53
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Shame on Mike Waters and Martin Plaut
Both the DA and Martin Plaut have gone out of their way in a rather dismal attempt to discredit COPE with regard to its stance on HIV/AIDS. The DA has been known since the days of Tony Leon to base its politics on simple and aggressive oppositional . .more

by JS on March 01 2009, 20:57
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JS comments
JS
Instead of trying to discuss the issue, you change the subject to deflect criticism away from your incompetent leaders and your party without policies, and you attack the DA.
Read the original statements by Lekota and the additional . .more

by Al on March 02 2009, 10:36
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To say nothing is to deny...
Lekota may or may not have been a denialist but he certainly NEVER contradicted Mbeki, that liver stealing sock puppet in the health dept or anyone else in the ANC who contributed to the deaths by AIDS of more than 300 000 people by delaying the roll out . .more

by ps on March 02 2009, 10:44
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Duck n Dive
A true African Politician. Never a yes or no answer. Always leaving the door open to 'misquoted' or 'unclear statements'.
Try that in Aussie and the interviewer would have you for breakfast. That is the land of yes or no. Finished & klaar.

by Roger on March 02 2009, 11:09
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Coped Out
Sadly, many South Africans including the media, believe that Cope is a saviour from a Zuma led govt. Looking at Cope's leadership , all I see are Mbeki clones. They can deny it all they want, but it appears that we forget why we in are in crisis today. I . .more

by H vd M on March 02 2009, 14:07
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GET your point straight
When mr Thabo Mbeki said what ever he said, regardind HIV/AIDS. He spoke on his own personal capacity as president; he was an ANC memeber if still is, so please COPE has never suported any contravercial statement on HIV/AIDS. Please leave it out of it. . .more

by Phindile on June 04 2009, 11:11
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Get your point straight
GET your point straight
When mr Thabo Mbeki said what ever he said, regarding HIV/AIDS. He spoke on his own personal capacity as president; he was an ANC memeber if still is, so please COPE has never suported any contravercial statement on HIV/AIDS. . .more

by Phindile on June 04 2009, 11:13
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