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Friday, 26 September 2008

Jimmy Carter pleased to see Mbeki go

from SAS

AMERICA’S former president, Jimmy Carter, said the closest he has ever been to a fist fight was when former president Thabo Mbeki told him that anti-retrovirals for mothers infected with HIV/Aids was a plot of white people against black people.

Carter made the statement on Tuesday night at the Carter Centre in Atlanta, Georgia, while hosting a number of American and overseas journalists, including the Daily Dispatch and Sunday Times.

At the end of the meeting, Conversations at the Carter Centre, the former Democratic Party president expressed his satisfaction that Mbeki had been ousted. “Frankly I am glad to see him gone,” Carter said.

The former president said that he had almost come to blows with Mbeki in the presence of former Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, then the world’s wealthiest man, when Mbeki rejected funds for anti-retrovirals and accused white people of using anti-retrovirals to harm black people.

Carter said Mbeki, whom he told his American audience will probably be replaced by ANC president Jacob Zuma, also made a serious mistake by his support for Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.

He said Mugabe should have been deposed had it not been for Mbeki’s support.

Yesterday the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) said they agreed with Carter’s statements.

TAC leader Zackie Achmat said it was sad that it took so long for the ANC to recall Mbeki. He said Mbeki’s failure to act promptly resulted in millions of premature Aids-related deaths.

“We think the (former) president (Mbeki) has done enormous damage to our society.… Since he came into power, at least two million people have died prematurely ,” said Achmat.

Asked if there would be any changes in the government’s stance on HIV/Aids , ANC communications co-ordinator Steyn Speed said: “The ANC- led government’s approach to HIV and Aids is informed by the National Strategic Plan on HIV and Aids and STIs 2007- 2011 … “The administration led by ANC Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe will continue to pursue the targets set out in this plan just as the government led by President Thabo Mbeki has done.”