Why the SANAC Plenary Convened Two Special Sittings
SANAC Plenary, the highest decision-making body of the Council, convened two special sittings to mark significant events and emergent priorities for the organisation. The first sitting was an extended plenary held to officially welcome the new SANAC Chairperson, Deputy President David Mabuza. The second special sitting was to discuss the United Nations High Level Meeting on TB.
In addition to the normal SANAC structure, an Extended SANAC Plenary includes all provincial premiers to provide a comprehensive feedback on progress made with regards to HIV, TB and STIs response in their respective provinces; as well as to raise and discuss other pertinent issues concerning the three epidemics.
Deputy President Mabuza assumed his role by hitting the ground running – immediately after beginning his term, the
country hosted the World TB Day event and the National TB Conference in March and June respectively. The deputy president was then charged with the responsibility of delivering keynote addresses at both events as Chairperson of SANAC. The extended plenary therefore, was convened not only to officiate his role as Chair, but most importantly, to bring him up to speed with the work of the Council.
Speaking at the first sitting, the extended SANAC plenary held in Limpopo, Deputy President Mabuza said“In my capacity as
Chairperson of the South African AIDS Council (SANAC), I wish to convey my gratitude to all of you for the critical work you
have been doing in building much needed networks to ensure that our beloved country is counted as one of the leading and
visionary countries in the fight against HIV, TB and STIs globally.
Deputy President Mabuza also added that, through the Council’s patriotism, vigour and commitment, South Africa’s fight against HIV, TB and STIs has resulted in the slowing down of these epidemics, albeit not at a pace we as a country aspire
to. Mabuza also commended SANAC and its stakeholders for a successful TB Conference.
“Congratulations to SANAC and all our social partners for recently hosting a successful TB Conference in Durban. At that conference, we agreed to act urgently, decisively and collaboratively in ensuring that no one is left behind from being cured rom TB infection.
“By working together and relentlessly to implement our National Strategic Plan, South Africans will be healthier; they
will live longer; and they stand a better chance to accelerate the development of our country,” said the deputy president.
The United Nations High Level Meeting on Tuberculosis (UNHLM-TB)
The second SANAC plenary was to discuss the all critical United Nations High Level Meeting on Tuberculosis held on 26
September. The plenary had to chart key priorities to focus on at the UN gathering. “Team South Africa” was led by President
Cyril Ramaphosa, the former chairperson of SANAC.
Speaking at the UN meeting, President Ramaphosa pledged South Africa’s commitment to act decisively against TB: “TB
has killed more people than AIDS, Malaria, Smallpox, Plague and Ebola combined. We will do everything in our power to
end TB by 2030, if not earlier!” Ramaphosa declared.
The President was accompanied by Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi who was instrumental in getting the UN High Level
Meeting convened. SANAC CEO, Dr Sandile Buthelezi and other stakeholders were also in attendance.
The UN General Assembly periodically convenes “High Level Meeting/s” with heads of states to discuss high priority matters
that require accelerated interventions. These include noncommunicable diseases, unprecedented disease outbreaks and international conflicts among other things. Following a thorough consultation, a declaration is then signed at the
meeting to demonstrate commitment by world leaders to respond to the issue at hand.