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Bad Manners and Good Gossip

« Darin Brown Explains Why the Best and the Brightest Question and the Pods Play Along | Main | The Censorious Professor Moore Writes to Discover Magazine »

November 06, 2006


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Anthony Brink

The trouble with Kerry Cullinan’s claim in the Johannesburg Sunday Times this week that South African Health Minister Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang has been ‘muscled out in palace coup’ is that it’s made up out of nothing. ‘Over the past three weeks, Tshabalala-Msimang's deputy, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, and Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka have seized control of the country's HIV/Aids programme,’ she alleged. But under the headline ‘Mlambo-Ngcuka denies HIV and Aids “coup”’, the Cape Times reported the following day: ‘The deputy president denied on Sunday that she and the deputy health minister were seeking to seize control of the country's HIV and Aids programme while Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang is recovering from an illness. The Sunday Times reported this weekend that deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge had begun steering the country's HIV and Aids programme in a new direction since the health minister fell ill in early October. “I don't know where that story comes from,” Mlambo-Ngcuka said in an interview shortly after she addressed delegates to the international Jewish Catholic Liaison Commission meeting in Sea Point.’ As for Cullinan’s allegation that Deputy Health Minister Madlala-Routledge had ‘seized control of the country's HIV/Aids programme’, Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka added: ‘The minister of health is sick at the present moment, and the deputy minister continues to do the work that all deputy ministers do, and I don't think you should try and make this so dramatic.’

A formal statement issued from President Mbeki’s office on the same day, wired by the South African Press Association and posted by the Independent Online under the title ‘Manto still in charge of Aids programme’, refuted Cullinan’s miserable lies: ‘“Government wishes to clearly state that the work of the ministry and the department of health has not been altered or taken over,” said spokesperson Thabang Chiloane.’

The Treatment Information Group gave this tragically stupid woman the ‘Judith Miller Award for AIDS Journalism 2005’.

For her cocked-up piece in the Sunday Times this week, she’ll be vying to win it again in 2006 with another pitiful dimwit, her friend Tamar Kahn,whose offering in Business Day earlier this year elicited a letter of enquiry from me. She never answered.

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