Obits in Brief: Manto Tshabalala-Msimang

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The Independent Online

Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, who died on 16 December aged 69, was South Africa's former health minister who gained notoriety for her promotion of lemons, garlic, beetroot and olive oil to treat Aids.

During her eight years in office, Tshabalala-Msimang's disastrous policies on HIV made her the most unpopular minister in post-apartheid South Africa, nicknamed "Dr Beetroot" and "Dr Garlic". By the end of her tenure an estimated 5.5m South Africans were infected with the virus.

Tshabalala-Msimang was named health minister by President Thabo Mbeki in 1999 and echoed his scepticism of the causal link between the HIV virus and Aids. She lost her job in September 2008 when Mbeki was removed by the ANC.

Born in Emfume, south of Durban, she joined the ANC in her early 20s. She left the country in 1962, spending 28 years in exile, studying medicine in Leningrad and gaining a masters degree in public health in Antwerp. She later worked as a doctor in Tanzania and Botswana and helped draft the ANC's health policies.