2006: Manto vs Deputy Madlala-Routledge

It was reported in the media that Minister of Health Manto Tshabalala-Msimang had given orders to her Deputy, Dr Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, that the latter was not to make any public statements regarding HIV and AIDS. It was well known that the two did not see eye to eye on the government’s handling of the epidemic.

Madlala-Routledge had, in the eyes of Manto, displayed disloyalty when she had done certain things that contravened the government’s approach to HIV and AIDS. Her “crimes” included: going for a public HIV test, speaking openly with the TAC, promoting access to ARV treatment, and speaking about the poor conditions she encountered at a public hospital in the Eastern Cape.

Manto insisted that her Deputy resign, and when she refused Mbeki himself stepped in to ensure her dismissal. Madlala-Routledge went public with the circumstances surrounding her dismissal, claiming that was bullied by the Minister and constantly restricted from carrying out her duties. “I was fired for doing my job,” she said.