“ … a great deal has been accomplished.  But a great deal remains to be done … this journey has only just begun. Yet millions of lives depend upon it.” — From the forward by Vuyiseka Dubula, Chairperson of the SECTION27 Board of Directors

 

SECTION27 is pleased to announce the publication of the SECTION27 REVIEW.

The SECTION27 REVIEW is available here or by contacting Tummy Seboko (by email at seboko@section27.org.za or by phone at 011 356 4100).

The SECTION27 REVIEW reports on the work of SECTION27 from April 2010 to December 2011 and also assesses important aspects of the government’s compliance with its duties under section 27 of the South African Constitution.  It features an introduction by the Executive Director, Mark Heywood, an organisational report, and essays by Mark Heywood, Adila Hassim and Jonathan Berger.

In the essay Realising the rights of young people: The interdependence of the rights to health and basic education, Heywood argues that the realisation of the right to health depends on the realisation of the right to a basic education.  He supports his argument by illustrating the vicious cycle that leads generations of young people through poor education to poverty and poor health then back to poor education.

The National Strategic Plan (NSP) for HIV & AIDS, STIs and TB, 2012 – 2016 sets a target of a 50% reduction in new HIV infections by the year 2016.  Heywood concludes that, in order to achieve the goal, it will be essential to give practical enforcement to the right to a basic education.

In the essay, The cost of rights: Is there a legal right to transparent and efficient budgeting?, Hassim argues that “there is a legal duty on the state to devise a transparent budget for all plans that are approved and implemented by the government. Not having a proper budget is unlawful and unconstitutional.”

Hassim begins by describing the process of drafting and budgeting for the NSP.  She then draws on section 27 of the Constitution and several legal decisions to conclude that, absent evidence-based costing and budgeting, a government plan such as the NSP falls foul of section 27.

Hassim then describes the failure to budget for several strategic objectives of the NSP.  She finally concludes, “pending the determination of complete and proper budgets, the NSP fails a vital legal test.”

Jonathan Berger’s essay, Civil society and the translation of scientific research into HIV prevention and treatment programmes: Past, present and future struggles, is a journey through the last three decades of community involvement in South Africa’s response to the HIV epidemic.  The essay discusses “how civil society—social movements of people living with HIV; community-based organisations; public interest law centres—‘engaged’ with those who exercise public and private power to ensure access to much-needed prevention and treatment programmes”.

Berger draws from this history to conclude that, going forward, “civil society must continue to hold stakeholders—including civil society organizations themselves—to account. We should never apologise for getting our foot in the door or occupying seats at the decision-making table.”

 

For further information or to request copies of the SECTION27 REVIEW, contact Tummy Seboko by email at seboko@section27.org.za or by phone at 011 356 4100.

 

The SECTION27 REVIEW is also available here.