June 11, 2003

Dear Dr Giraldo

Thank you for your email. I have received several others following "Sam's" request for a collective response to my editorial in the SAMJ and will be responding in a forthcoming issue of the journal.

Your interpretation of my political views happen to be false and since your letter to me is available on the internet a correction is appropriate. For the record I was opposed to former fragmented and segregated health care policies and indeed to the apartheid government and while acknowledging the central role played by the ANC, would like to believe that others too played a role in its demise. I and most of the population in South Africa hold the government of our country in high regard. However the test of a true democracy is that it encourages and heeds vigorous criticism of its policies. With respect to HIV/AIDS a very significant body of civil society, including the South African Medical Association, trade unions and others are engaging in just such action.

Professor JP van Niekerk
Deputy editor