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TAC not facing imminent closure

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The Treatment Action Campaign is not facing imminent closure, but will have to make “tough decisions” if it does not get more funding, it said on Tuesday.

“We would like to state that despite severe financial challenges, the TAC is not facing imminent closure,” it said in a statement.

“However if we have not raised the funding required by February 2015 we will have to make tough decisions.”

The HIV/Aids activist organisation said it took note of reports on Tuesday that it might be forced to close its doors due to a severe funding shortage.
Section27 head and TAC board member Mark Heywood was quoted in The Star as saying the organisation only had a third of its budget for next year.
Donor funding cuts had reportedly forced TAC to cull staff and cut programming at least twice in recent years.

“If we get to the beginning of 2015 still with one-third of the budget and have to discuss scaling back the TAC, then actually we might as well discuss closing,” Heywood reportedly said at the bi-annual Southern African HIV Clinicians Society Conference, in Cape Town at the weekend.

TAC said it received calls of support and concern following the report.
It had managed to raise less than 30 percent of its budget for the 2015/2016 financial year.

“The downscaling or closure of the TAC would be a major setback to our democracy and to South Africa’s response to the HIV/Aids epidemic,” it said.
TAC said that despite approximately 400,000 new HIV infections every year in South Africa, 170,000 Aids-related deaths, the HIV epidemic was dropping down the political agenda in South Africa and internationally.

“Several foreign donors are withdrawing funding for Aids and no longer funding the TAC or other civil society organisations as they did in the past,” it said.

“Donors such as the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, who have been a key funder of TAC, are pulling out of South Africa due to our middle-income status.”
It said a number of funders remained committed to the TAC. However their contributions alone were not enough.

“But TAC’s mission is far from complete… TAC activists continue to do critical work to hold government and the private sector accountable and to alleviate the co-epidemics of HIV and TB in communities,” it said.

“But to do this we need to raise an operating budget of approximately R30 million for next year.”

It said it wanted to provide assurance that it did not waste money on high salaries.

“TAC assures its volunteers, staff, supporters and existing donors that we will not go down without doing everything in our power to find the funds to sustain the TAC in 2015 and beyond.” SAPA

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