S.Africa in Fresh Dispute with Global AIDS Fund
Tue May 25, 2004 08:05 AM ET
By Andrew Quinn
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (Reuters) - A new dispute has broken out between South Africa and the world's chief AIDS funding organization, which accuses Pretoria of delaying disbursement of millions of dollars in HIV/AIDS assistance.
South Africa has an estimated five million people infected with the AIDS virus -- the highest number in the world -- and has frequently been accused of moving too slowly to combat the epidemic.
Richard Feachem, head of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, told South African media this week that Pretoria was failing to get international grant money to organizations fighting the disease on the ground.
"It's intolerable that the money gets stuck in Pretoria and if Pretoria can't move it for any reason, we will simply withdraw it and establish direct relationships with the people actually doing the work," Feachem said.
South African Health Minister Manto Tshablala-Msimang on Tuesday expressed "surprise and disbelief" at Feachem's comments -- the latest ruction in a relationship with the Fund that has been marked by disputes in the past.