A renewed commitment towards the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence was the clarion call made by KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka during the World Aids Day commemorations which were hosted at the Jolivet Community Hall in the uBuhlebezwe municipality under the Harry Gwala District.

The commemorations were attended by Harry Gwala District Mayor Cllr Zamo Nxumalo, uBuhlebezwe Mayor Cllr EB Ngubo and Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma Mayor Cllr Sindi Msomi.

Nomfundo, Ndlovu, an activist, called for hightened awareness amongst communities regarding the dangers that continue to be posed by the virus. “Each one of us has to take responsibility and ensure that we know our status and that once we know it, we take all the necessary measures so that we prevent the virus from spreading within our communities,” said Ndlovu.

In his address to the community, Hlomuka thanked health workers in the district for their hard work which saw the region achieve the 90-90-90 UNAIDS targets adopted by the country 2014. The targets are aimed at ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

The targets state that 90% of People Living with HIV (PLHIV) must know their status; 90% of those must be on ART; and of those on ART, 90% must be virally suppressed. “Due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, these gains have suffered a serious setback,” said Hlomuka.

During the candle lighting ceremony, Mayor Nxumalo urged residents of the district who are undergoing treatment to be diligent and not default on their treatment because they could risk a relapse. “As a way of remembering those who have passed away as a result of this virus, let us all commit to being diligent in the fight against the spread of this virus,” said Nxumalo.

The host mayor, Cllr Ngubo of the uBuhlebezwe municipality, hailed the ceremony as an important reminder about the importance of fighting against the spread of the virus.

Community members that attended Gugu Tenza  (31) and Hloniphile  Mjwaha (30) from Mhlabashane in Highflats, said they appreciated getting educated about HIV/AIDS in this event.

Joint statement by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and the Harry Gwala District Municipality