Deputy President opens Eastern Cape HIV/AIDS Centre

Monday, September 18, 2017

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has paid tribute to those men and women who do all they can to look after children with HIV.

“These are the good women and men of this community who make sure that children with HIV feel they belong and have a place under the warm African sun,” the Deputy President said on Sunday.

He was speaking at the official opening of the Vuyo Mbuli Empilisweni HIV/AIDS and Orphans Centre in Ndevana in the Eastern Cape.

The centre is a community initiative which started operations in 1999 with the help of the late SABC TV presenter Vuyo Mbuli and was officially registered as a non-profit organisation in 2002.

The centre – whose main focus is on HIV and Aids orphans – also works with caregivers of people who are on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and Tuberculosis (TB) treatment. The facility has been commissioned by the Department of Health to trace treatment defaulters in the area.

The Deputy President paid tribute to the caregivers who visit children in homes where there are no mothers and fathers.

“They are there to close the eyes of the deceased and comfort the living. They refuse to let the soul of our nation to be corrupted by the cardinal sin of neglecting hungry and homeless children.

“They feed, bathe, and clothe the sick and the weak. It is them who show our vulnerable children the door of the classroom,” he said.

Deputy President Ramaphosa said the leadership of the centre had crafted grand plans to stimulate economic activity and create jobs.  

“They have internalised our National Development Plan and they have identified the areas that can yield positive results. We have been touched and moved by the vision you have crafted of achieving a community that is not haunted by poverty and shackled by injustice.”

Deputy Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said the care centre will be supported with Information and Communications Technology (ICT) services.

This, said the Deputy President, is a significant step in bringing this much needed service to the community.

He added that the computer centre at the clinic will be developed in partnership with the State Information Technology Agency (SITA), MTN and the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA).

He called for the initiative to be replicated in other areas to close the information technology gap and to prepare children for the knowledge economy and the fourth industrial revolution.

“We also want to acknowledge and call upon past, present and future potential partners to continue strengthening the work of this remarkable care centre.”

The Deputy President said it was pleasing for government to see companies stepping up to help the centre. This as Aspen Pharmacare has committed to provide the centre with solar water heaters.

In addition, government also applauded the National Lotteries Commission for being an excellent corporate citizen.

“Through their generous contribution, today we have the awe-inspiring Empilisweni building. This is the type of tangible outcomes that will assist the Empilisweni Centre and community to be better equipped to manage its operations,” he said.

“The National Health Insurance (NHI) identify them as the bedrock of an efficient, inclusive, and equitable national health system. We thus applaud Empilisweni for being an artery that supports the ideal of universal health care for all South Africans.” –