Zille's judgment failed her with Gestapo slur

Nathan Geffen says DA leader has now penned two rabid incoherent responses to TAC

Godwin's law states that in an online debate, eventually one side will make an analogy between their adversaries and Nazis. It is a signal that they have lost the argument. Helen Zille's reference, obviously to my colleagues and me, as the AIDS Gestapo calls her judgment into serious question. Her critics on this issue have debated her hard, but we have been respectful.

She on the other hand has now twice written rabid incoherent angry responses to us. Here however is an analogy that is true: her words are akin to the kinds of disgraceful insults hurled at her by the ANC Youth League and others.

I have read and reread her newsletter published yesterday in order to try to understand the point she is making; I cannot. If there is something sensible there it is lost in her anger and rhetoric.

I wish to set her right on one false assumption. She cites an ongoing case where a woman is suing a man for infecting her with genital herpes and implies that her critics would not be sympathetic to a woman who took a similar case against a man for infecting her with HIV. Nonsense.

As I explained in an article published in the Cape Times, the Law Commission rejected the idea of creating a new law for the specific criminalisation of HIV because the common law can be used against people who deliberately infect others. The South African case Zille cites is a civil one in which the claimant uses the common law to claim damages. Whether the woman wins or not will depend on the facts of the case.

A woman (or man) who makes a case against a partner for infecting her (or him) with HIV is entitled to do so and would not be in the least bit condemned by me or my colleagues in the Treatment Action Campaign. Again, whether this hypothetical person won or lost would be dependent on the facts of the specific case.

Zille's foray into AIDS is increasingly inept. Either she is not taking the advice of her advisers or she needs to change them. But not even her advisers can be blamed for her intemperate language.

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