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.
Her 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.
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.