South African Deputy Minister's Sacking a Mistake

Hany Besada
Published: Wednesday, 08/22/2007 12:00 am EDT

The sacking of South Africa's deputy minister of health, Madlala-Routledge, by President Thabo Mbeki last week is indicative of what is tragically going wrong with Africa's economic giant. The move comes after media reports that she went on an unauthorized trip to Madrid, with a consultant and her son, that may have cost taxpayers up to $22,000. If such a story is to be believed, it will bode well with the image that South Africa has been attempting to project, a champion of good governance and accountability in a continent often plagued with rampant corruption. However, critics contend that she was punished for her outspoken criticism of the state's controversial HIV/AIDS policy. Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang is known as "Dr. Beetroot" for her remarks to HIV patients, whom she advises to eat beetroot and garlic as substitutes to anti-retrovirals, the efficacy of which she has questioned on more than one occasion.

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