DA condemns public announcement of learners’ HIV statuses at EC schools

The Democratic Alliance in the Eastern Cape condemns the manner in which HIV testing was conducted at Alfonso Arries Primary School and Woolhope High School in Port Elizabeth.

It is alleged that learners’ HIV statuses were announced by an NGO called Kheth’Impilo in front of other pupils.

According to the law, a child may be tested without consent from a parent if he or she is 12 years of age or older, however, pre and post counselling must be provided to the learner being tested.

However, the Children’s Act (No. 38 of 2005) states the following, “No person may disclose a child’s HIV status without consent, except in a few limited circumstances which are set out in the Act. Consent for the disclosure of HIV status can be given by the child if the child is over 12 or if the child is under 12, but is sufficiently mature. If the child does not have the capacity to give consent to the disclosure, consent can be given by a range of people, including a parent or caregiver.”

The Department has failed the parents and learners who are affected by the aforementioned issue. Parents should have been informed in order to give consent and this situation should have been monitored closely by government officials to ensure that the learners are protected.

This is an infringement on the rights of these learners and the DA demands that those responsible are brought to book as soon as possible.

I will be submitting questions to the MEC for Education, Mandla Makupula, to ensure that his department deals with this situation promptly. — Edmund van Vuuren MPL, Shadow MEC for Education