LOCAL MEN URGED TO TAKE THE LEAD IN THE FIGHT AGAINST HIV AND AIDS 

uMngeni Municipality Deputy Mayor, Scelo Majozi has made a clarion call to men urging them to be protectors and defenders of the weak at communities. Speaking during the launch of the SA Men of the Year Awards and SA Men’s Charter process at the Howick West Hall recently, Majozi said that the voices and involvement of men opposing abuse of women and children, social ills and the fight against HIV and Aids can no longer be conspicuous. The District launch of the SA Men and SA Men’s Charter follows hot on the heels of the launch by the country’s Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in partnership with the Minister Ms Susan Shabangu, who is responsible for the Ministry of Women and the Minister Ms Bathabile Dlamini – responsible for Social Development. The SA Men of the Year Award & SA Men’s Charter aims to bring together government, business, labour, civil society and ordinary South African men from all walks of life, to engage in a dialogue on the significance of SA Men of the Year Awards as well as the SA Men’s Charter.

This seeks to strengthen the capacity and coordination of the men's civil society movement in the country's response to the social challenges faced by our communities.

The launch was the culmination of a partnership between government, developmental partners and civil society, which for the past few years has been instrumental in mobilising men to improve the health and wellbeing of their families and communities. 

The strategic objectives include among other things acknowledging South African men who are community investors and builders through the South African Men of the Year Awards to restore the identity, role and pride of a male figure in society; further fostering positivity, values and good character around South African men; to unite all South African men behind the South African Men’s Charter calling for all men to actively participate in health and social development and to provide a platform for men in the provinces to discuss issues regarding organisational development, skills development, leadership and sustainability of the men’s responses and campaigns. 

“KwaZulu-Natal and more so our District has the highest prevalence of HIV in the whole country. The most affected by this virus are young people between the ages of 15 and 20 years. Of late Programme Director, learners who are still doing their Basic Education at high schools and higher primary schools have HIV and Aids,” said the Deputy Mayor. He said that it was therefore the responsibility of all of men especially to ensure that they take the lead in the fight against new HIV infections. “We need to be general caregivers in our communities. We need to be the voices of comfort for those who are infected. We need to be protectors of those who are infected against those who seek to make them a laughing stock,” said Majozi   National Men’s Task Team representative Bruce Malgas, commenced by thanking female attendees for giving birth to men, raising and loving them and put them in their prayers to be able to better themselves.

He apologised on behalf of men for repaying all of this with physical abuse, rape and lies. He said that upstanding men are honourable beings. They are there for their children and families and always strive to give their children the best and all the things they never had while growing up. Malgas said that the Men's Charter is a source of consciousness awareness where men are concerned.

Speaking on behalf of the provincial Department of Health, Sthe Dlamini said that uMgungundlovu was leading in raising awareness about HIV/Aids and TB, albeit. Dlamini added that the district was also leading in condom distribution.

“We are the district with the most infections however we are leading in condom distribution. Again this is something we need to look at closer,” she said.

Dlamini said that men needed to be play a pivotal role in rape, as it was high as well in the District. “Last year more than 1300 females were raped and about 600 of these rape cases were on females under the age of 12 years,” she added.

Representative from the Office of the Premier, Thobile Yengwa said if men and women take their rightful place in communities and work hand in hand the fight against social ills and diseases would be enhanced.