Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi's scheduled appearance at Anova's Top2Btm Symposium in Cape Town caused waves last week. An article in the Mail&Guardian argues that the minister's presence at the MSM and HIV focused symposium, while commendable, could re-stigmatise men who have sex with men.
The piece, written by an associate at the Wits Centre for Ethics, also raises the much debated and discussed fact that South Africa's liberal constitution does not necessarily mean corresponding action from government. Roughly translated, this means that while sexual minorities might have political and legal rights they still live within a largely homophobic society. The writer questions, through the use of various examples, the South African government's commitment to strive for real change at the level of attitudes to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender peoples (LGBT).
The health minister did not in fact give the key note speech at the symposium but sent Dr. Yogan Pillay in his stead. Dr. Pillay is the Chief Director of Strategic Planning at the National Department of Health.