Thabo Mbeki, the former president of South Africa who was ousted in 2008, is facing criticism over comments he made this week in defense of his administration's AIDS policies.

Mbeki's health minister at the time questioned the efficacy of antiretroviral drugs and instead promoted nutritional treatments to keep AIDS patients alive.

In a letter posted on his foundation's website, Mbeki defended the policy, noting the need to use AIDS drugs “with great care and caution, mindful of the vital importance of a healthy immune system.”

Mbeki's policy, which included promoting garlic and beet treatments, is blamed for the deaths of some 300,000 South Africans.

The South African group Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) criticized Mbeki's comments, saying that he “shows no remorse for role in AIDS deaths.”

“The impact of Mbeki's AIDS denialism was catastrophic,” the group wrote. “Many of our family members, friends and comrades died while Mbeki's government dragged its feet and indulged pseudo-scientific nonsense. Yet, neither in his letter, nor in any other forum that we are aware of, has Mbeki apologized or showed any remorse or acknowledgment of his role in the over 300,000 avoidable AIDS deaths in South Africa. Instead, he has chosen to repeat many of the flawed arguments he used in the early 2000s.”