House Chair, cancer infects us indiscriminately, whether rich or poor, in urban or rural areas. However, the conditions under which people suffer from cancer and die because of it are profoundly different. Also, with respect to cancer, it is the poorest of the poor in rural areas who bear the worst brunt of it. Most cases of cancer in rural areas remain unreported. There is little knowledge on how to manage the pain and the complications associated with cancer. People are left prey to untold sufferings and with no treatment.
It is important that our government begins to roll out a programme of education about cancer in rural areas. We did it in 1995 with respect to HIV/Aids. Our leader, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, was the first to go into the rural areas to speak about the sensitive and difficult facts of human sexuality as they relate to the contraction and spread of HIV/Aids.
He encouraged all Amakhosi to do the same. We had to break a stigma and speak out about things which, in our culture, were not to be spoken about and were a taboo. But we recognised that it had to be done and we did it. We dit it well. We must now speak about the facts of cancer.
Cancer is also an emotional disease which requires enormous emotional strength to be fought at individual and collective levels. We need to educate our communities, families, workplaces and schools to provide moral support to those engaged in the fight against cancer.
Often those who fall prey to cancer are isolated and left alone to cope with their personal tragedy. Many people hide their condition for fear of being rejected, the same way that HIV/Aids patients used to do 20 years ago. Our government gave HIV/Aids patients the courage to reclaim their lives in their communities and workplaces.
It is important that today we launch together and across party-political lines the cancer treatment campaign, first and foremost to give courage to all those who have cancer. We launch this campaign from this Parliament to tell all those with cancer that they are not alone and that their government will gear up to reach out to them with new forms of treatment and with hope.
From this place and time, we need to send the message out in a manner that is loud enough to be heard in the most remote rural areas, that cancer can be beaten. We need to give courage to those who have no prospect but despair and give them the hope that they will not be alone in their tragedy.
Today, we must assume responsibility for our collective tragedy as a people, and give ourselves the strength to give courage to others, because we are all affected by cancer, directly or indirectly.
Sihlalo, ngifisa ukundlulisa lokhu eNdlini, sizwelana kakhulu nelungu elihloniphekileyo, uDkt Ambrosini ezinhlungwini anazo. Silapha eNdlini abanye bethu mhlawumbe babe nenhlanhla yokuzihlola bese kuyavela ukuthi banayo inkinga. Inkinga yona ikhona, isihlasele. Laphayana eMpangeni ngase- Richards Bay, iphephandaba lasekhaya i-Zululand Observer, libhale udaba lapho libonisa khona ukuthi kunabantu abaninganyana abahlaselwe yisifo esifanayo, esingumdlavuza ngenxa yamanzi aphuzwayo ane-chlorine eningi ngokweqile nangenxa yomoya okhishwa yizinkampani.
Ngigcina, ngingasho la ukuthi nami ngingomunye wabantu ... (Translation of isiZulu paragraphs follows.)
[Chairperson, I would like to convey this message to the House: We sympathise with the hon member, Dr Ambrosini for the pain he is enduring. Some of us who are here in the House may have been lucky to have gone for checkups and to find out that they have a problem. The problem is there and it is affecting us. In Empangeni next to Richards Bay, a local newspaper, the Zululand Observer published a story about a large number of people who are suffering from the same disease. This cancer is caused by the drinking water that contains a lot of chlorine and also as a result of air pollution from the industries.
In closing, I would like to say that I'm also one of those people ...]
... who have been diagnosed with cancer, but mine is at an early stage. I thank you. [Applause.]