(Debates in Northern Cape Legislature)
The Northern Cape Legislature yesterday debated two of South Africa's most pressing social problems, namely HIV Aids and violence against women and children. The FF Plus stated its view unequivocally: Ordinary people can and must put an end to the destructive consequences thereof.
Medical science has made great breakthroughs with regard to the treatment of HIV Aids. It has now also come to light that lifestyle choices are not the only cause. And yet there is still a stigma that obstinately clings to the people who suffer from it, which in turn, has a detrimental effect on their willingness to disclose their status so that they can be treated for the disease.
In addition, Covid-19 has drawn so much attention that very little is now paid to HIV Aids.
A diagnosis confirming that someone has contracted the human immunodeficiency virus (is HIV positive) is no longer a death sentence. Through treatment, the development of Aids (the disease that ultimately causes people to die) can be postponed almost indefinitely. Thus, it is important for people to shake off the stigma and go for treatment.
The topic for the second debate was the Sixteen Days of Activism for no Violence against Women and Children. This is an evil that is not even supposed to exist in a modern society and yet it is so prevalent that we need an entire campaign against it.
While the excessive use of alcohol and drugs do sometimes result in this misdeed, it is also sometimes caused by polarisation in society.
The worst part is not the physical scars, but the long-term impact it has on the lives of the abused women and children. Children who are mistreated often turn to gangs for acceptance, which sets off a downward spiral. Abused women have a lack of self-confidence which means that they hardly ever reach their full potential.
In South Africa, like in any other country, the country's greatest asset is its people. Society simply cannot afford to lose people's valuable contributions because they die of a treatable disease or because they withdraw due to being abused.