The South African government will use this year’s World Aids Day commemoration to reiterate the call for decisive action to end the HIV and Aids epidemic by 2030, says Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“We will again be calling for greater collaboration and more investment in Aids research and HIV treatment,” the Deputy President said during the South African National Aids Council (SANAC) meeting, held in Pretoria on Friday.

Informed by the global theme for World Aids Day 2016, ‘Hands up for #HIV prevention’, South Africa will mark the day in Daveyton under the national campaign and theme, ‘It is in our hands to end HIV and TB’.

Deputy President Ramaphosa said during the SANAC Inter-Ministerial Committee meeting held in Cape Town on Tuesday, he appealed to political leadership to embrace the campaign and to take the lead in communities to drive the message of prevention.

He said they are pleased with the progress that has been achieved by the steering committee, which is developing the National Strategic Plan (NSP) 2017-2022.

“We will be ready to launch this comprehensive plan on World TB Day in March 2017. Next week, we will brief Cabinet on the milestones that we have achieved with the NSP 2012-2016 and appraise it on the high level strategic framework that informs the new NSP.”

The Deputy President urged SANAC to take part in the NSP development processes and ensure that the various constituencies they represent also contribute their ideas to the NSP.

“The role that individuals, communities and civic organisations have played and continue to play in the war against HIV and TB is unequalled in our country. In every corner of our land, in our rural hinterland, in small towns and big cities, you will always find grassroots leaders of our people, who have made it their duty to care, educate, counsel and protect vulnerable individuals, who have contracted HIV or are infected with TB.

“Funding of this sector remains a challenge. We are pleased that SANAC has taken the lead to find innovative ways to mobilise and optimise dwindling resources to support the work of civil society. We cannot overemphasise that the health and wellbeing of any society is at the heart of a nation’s development and its shared prosperity,” the Deputy President said.

The Deputy President commended SANAC for its enormous contribution to make the 21st International Aids Conference (Aids 2016), which was held in Durban in July, a success.

He said South Africa emerged from the conference inspired, empowered and far better equipped to confront the many challenges it faced.

“We had much to share and learn about policy, programmes, science, research, funding and social mobilisation. Many of the lessons from Aids 2016 are being incorporated in the new National Strategic Plan (2017-2022).”