We welcome the amendment of Section 1 (a) of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000, to include a prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of HIV/AIDS status.

Previously the act addressed race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth. An equality court has the powers to order payment of damages, direct that specific steps be taken to stop the unfair discrimination and order that an unconditional apology be made, amongst other forms of relief.

In recent months, SECTION27 has noted an increase in incidents of HIV discrimination cases, in smaller workplaces and in particular against domestic workers.  This amendment is another progressive move towards ending discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS. It will allow people who have faced discrimination another avenue to seek recourse and access to justice.