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Thabo Mbeki’s catastrophe

By 2009, Aids will have sent 6m South Africans to their graves. Why is the president doing nothing about it?

By Chris McGreal   March 2002

Envisage South Africa at the end of this decade. Thabo Mbeki will have left office after ten years as president. Debate over the merits of his conservative economic policies or his vision for Africa’s revival will be a distant memory. Instead, South Africa will be reeling from a long-foretold catastrophe. By 2009, Aids will have dispatched roughly 6m to their graves, in a country of less than 50m people. The dead will mostly be in their thirties; 2m children will be orphans. Life expectancy will have plunged to 41 years. The consequences of a generation laid waste will overshadow life…

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