Zille ignores detractors

01 December 2011 - 03:26 By PHILANI NOMBEMBE
File photo of Western Cape premier Helen Zille.
File photo of Western Cape premier Helen Zille.
Image: SHELLEY CHRISTIANS

WESTERN Cape premier Helen Zille conducted the first draw of her government's "Get tested to Win" campaign yesterday despite widespread criticism.

WESTERN Cape premier Helen Zille conducted the first draw of her government's "Get tested to Win" campaign yesterday despite widespread criticism.

This is part of the province's 16 Days of Activism campaign for no violence against women and children, which kicked off on Monday.

Zille launched the campaign to inspire people to take HIV tests.

People who are tested tbetween November 28 and December 9 at the province's testing centres are entered into a draw and stand a chance to win a R50000 grand prize or one of five R10000 cash prizes.

Experts and the South African Medical Association have criticised the initiative.

Some of the criticism was that the incentive could lead to people taking the HIV test without taking counselling seriously and that the campaign was cheap publicity.

Songezo Mjongile, the Western Cape ANC secretary, said Zille was using the draw to "coerce" people to test.

Zille, however, is undeterred.

She drew a winning name yesterday, and a R10000 prize went to someone who tested in Ravensmead.

Zille refrained from naming the winner without the person's consent as the person was not present at the draw, which took place at the provincial legislature.

"It's been controversial as all new ideas are," Zille said.

"You can never have a new idea that pushes the boundaries without upsetting somebody with vested interests but the only way you can have social progress is to push the boundaries and try new ideas.

"Trying new ideas is not a bad thing in society. It's a very, very good thing and a very necessary thing because that's how progress happens."

Launching the 16 Days of Activism campaign, Zille said it was a pilot to test programmes aimed at rewarding behaviour change in the province.

She said the province focused on child maintenance defaulters last year and that the Justice Department is now "applying the same road blocks and doing all the same things we did last year".

She also dismissed as nonsense claims that people have to be positive to qualify for the draw.

Zille said 1042942 people had voluntarily tested in the province last year.

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