SECTION27 is a public interest law centre that seeks to influence, develop and use the law to protect, promote and advance human rights. Our name is drawn from the section in the South African Constitution which enshrines everyone's right to health care, food, water and social security.
SECTION27 and TAC applauds the successful ARV medicine tender – but call for continued actions to drive prices of essential medicines down further.
SECTION27 and TAC applaud the Minister of Health and his team at the Department of Health (DoH) for their part in conceptualising, implementing and concluding a successful antiretroviral (ARV) medicine tender. Announced yesterday, the 2010 tender – for the period 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2012 – will see the state procuring ARV medicines at or about the best prices available globally.
Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders (MSF) and the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ’s) Faculty of Health Sciences have partnered to raise awareness and encourage discussion on public health-related issues through a series of high-level debates. In the second of this series, the panel addressed critical issues from challenges hampering the ability of the public health system to provide treatment, care and support, to legal frameworks and opportunities such as innovative financing mechanisms for global health.
On December 2nd 2010 judge Urmila Bhoola of the Labour Court reserved judgment in the case of Gary Shane Allpass v Mooikloof Estates (Proprietary) Ltd. Amongst other things, the case concerns the alleged unfair dismissal of a horse riding instructor on the grounds of his HIV status.
The applicant, Mr Gary Allpass, is an award-winning horse rider and instructor who has been living with HIV since 1992. He was represented in court by Advocates Warren Banks and Adila Hassim, who were instructed by Webber Wentzel Attorneys. Hassim is the head of litigation and legal services at SECTION27.
Over the past year, the Minister of Human Settlements, Tokyo Sexwale, has been praised for his energy in tackling the housing crisis. He recently signed service delivery agreements with his nine MECS for Outcome 8 of the presidential outcomes – sustainable human settlements and improved quality of household life – and he has been very vocal on what actions will accompany these agreements, as well as the challenges faced by his department. However, some of the Minister’s recent statements (see below) point to a lack of understanding of the reasons for the emergence and existence of informal settlements and illegally occupied inner city buildings. Further, his statements about the legal framework and recent court cases show a disregard for the role of the courts in enforcing the obligations imposed by the Constitution on the state, and in advancing struggles for fundamental rights in a constitutional democracy.
Today, SECTION27, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), the Gay and Lesbian Equality Project and COSATU hosted a joint rally outside the Chinese Embassy in Pretoria to demand the immediate release of Tian Xi and other human rights defenders wrongly imprisoned in China. Tian Xi, an AIDS and human rights activist who has been imprisoned since 6 August 2010, was infected with HIV as a child during a surgical operation – a common event in China at the time – and has been actively campaigning for the rights of people so infected to receive compensation from the Chinese government.