HIV/Aids Activist Grace Seopela and other activists present here today
Motivational Speaker Kenneth Carrim
Officials from the department of Health
Representatives of Emalahlani FM
Members of the Media
Members of the Community
Thank you for inviting the Executive Mayor of Emalahleni Local Municipality to be part of this World Aids Day.
This day is observed all over the world to support and salute people living with Aids and to commemorate those who died.
Let me at the beginning apologise on behalf of our Executive Mayor, councillor Lindiwe Ntshalintshali, for not being with us today.
The Executive Mayor would have dearly loved to be part of this event but she had to attend the Nkangala District Municipality Strategic Plan that starts today.
Earlier this week she attended the SA Local Government Association (Salga), and I am pleased to inform you that delegates at that conference realised her potential and elected her as the deputy President of Salga.
Those of us who work closely with her have no doubt about her leadership qualities.
Let me also take this opportunity to salute organisers of this event. I know there were many people and organisations which were part of putting together this event, but allow me program director to single out our own community radio station Emalahleni FM. Your role as a local station and as part of the media is to inform, entertain and educate or inform. Today you have fulfilled your role as an educator and I am impressed!!!
We as the Emalahleni Local Municipality are grateful for this opportunity because as a municipality we are an important stakeholder in all initiatives and efforts to curb the spread of HIV/Aids in our area.
We, like other stakeholders have a responsibility to encourage our communities to get tested, and in the event that the results show that you are infected, to go to your nearest clinic to get treatment.
And those who are not infected but are sexually active and chose not to stick to one partner should condomise.
Program Director, there is an unfortunate, and sickening phenomenon that is sweeping through our country like wild fire, and if we are not careful it would destroy the fibre of our society. That phenomenon is taken as a joke in some quarters, although it is deadly and unacceptable.
People who participate in this phenomenon I am speaking about are commonly referred to as Blessers.
Men old enough to be fathers of young girls are turning against them for nothing else but to de-flower those young innocent girls.
They attract mostly young girls from poor families through material things and money. Sadly those young girls largely because of their desperation submit to these Blessers.
In most cases those Blessers infect these vulnerable young girls and after using them sexually they dump them.
We all know that the country and our region in particular is faced with challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequalities.
But that does not mean that the prevailing triple challenges should render us helpless in fighting this despicable phenomenon of Blessers. We should fight it so that every girl child should grow up without the dangers of being exploited by older men.
Dreams of many young girls have been shattered by unwanted pregnancy as a result of Blessers. In the event that they become impregnated by boys their age they drop-out of school and boys continue with their studies as if nothing has happened.
It is the duty of every parent, neighbour, community leaders, churches and traditional leaders to put an end to the phenomenon of Blessers.
We are among the highest regions in the country whose HIV/Aids rate is unacceptably high and unless we do something urgently we will all perish.
The Health Minister has revealed chilling facts about the rate of infection. He told a radion station on Thursday that 2000 girls between 15 and 24 are infected with HIV weekly in Southern African countries. He further said 17 percent of the people in the world who are HIV are found in South Africa.
It is all our duty to make sure that we all do something favourably to reduce and manage this epidemic