Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, South Africa's former deputy health minister alleges she has been sacked for doing her job.
Addressing the media in the wake of her dismissal, Ms Madlala-Routledge said that she had been fired for going on an unauthorized trip to a Spanish AIDS conference and for criticizing hospital conditions. Ms Madlala-Routledge maintained that it was her duty to respond quickly to reports that babies were dying in a maternity hospital.
AdvertisementHer sacking has been condemned by Aids activists and the opposition as a setback in the fight against HIV. In South Africa, around 5.5 million citizens are HIV-positive - more than in any other country.
In her first comments since her sacking, Ms Madlala-Routledge also said it was a known fact that there had been differences of opinion between her and Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang.
The health minister is known as Dr Beetroot after telling people with HIV to eat beetroot and garlic, while expressing doubts about the efficacy of anti-retroviral drugs.Ms Madlala-Routledge said that she had criticized the minister's stance two years ago.
"She [Dr Tshabalala-Msimang] had said to me: 'I will fix you' and maybe she has fixed me," Ms Madlala-Routledge was quoted at a news conference.
Meanwhile, this has been denied by Dr Tshabalala-Msimang's office. "No such statement was ever made," the department of health, said.
Ms Madlala-Routledge denied local media reports that she had defied President Thabo Mbeki by going to Madrid with her son and a consultant, at a cost of 160,000 rand ($22,000). "I acted in good faith in the belief that our president had approved the trip."
Ms Madlala-Routledge says that in spite of her dismissal, she hopes to remain part of the campaign against HIV/Aids. No official reason has been given for her sacking.