The HIV/ AIDS pandemic is one that has troubled South Africa, its citizens and government alike. It has undoubtedly become of the greatest challenges facing millions of workers across the world, including South Africa. According to Statistics South Africa, 11,2% or 6.9 million South Africans are living with HIV with the highest prevalence noted for adults aged between 15 and 49 years which is about 17% of the entire population.
We should use this day to remember those who have passed away as a result of HIV/AIDS including those who are living with this diseases. This should also be a day wherein we join hands and support initiatives aimed at ending this pandemic in our communities. Living with HIV/AIDS should no longer be seen as a life sentence. We should also acknowledge great strides which have been made by government including the fact that new infections are decreasing.
In commemorating this day, we as workers should remind ourselves that we have a role in ensuring that we help in eradicating HIV/AIDS in our communities and in particular our workplaces. This can be achieved by us ensuring that we participate in employee programs which have been designed specifically for this purpose.
We should also use this day to also commit ourselves in helping and joining the fight against women and children abuse. Women and children abuse is a social ill and moral decay and such communities should take a tough stance against it. Statistically, over 60% perpetrators of such abuses have themselves been victims or were brought up in a household where they witnessed abuse. We should therefore tackle the root causes to be able to totally eliminate this social ill.
SAMWU recognises that the scourge of violence is particularly prevalent in our working class communities. The high levels of poverty and unemployment contribute largely to the violence perpetrated which leave women and children the most vulnerable, such violence has on numerous instances led to the victims being infected with HIV.
We believe that this campaign is significant as it not merely calls for symbolic support but it is a call to action. It further reminds us that action is not just confined to the 16 days but should be throughout the 365 days. We urge our members and South Africans in general to be responsible citizens and protectors of their spouses and children.
In doing so, workers, communities and governments should work together in finding lasting solutions and actions that will ensure that we all partake in the call of action to ensure that our world becomes HIV/AIDS free.
Issued by SAMWU Head Office
079 887 8389
National Media Officer