The SECTION27 Board is pleased to announce that it has expanded its leadership team with three internal candidates appointed to newly-created senior leadership positions.

Umunyana Rugege has been appointed as the organisation’s first Deputy Director, while Sasha Stevenson has been appointed as head of the right to health and Faranaaz Veriava as head of the right to basic education. The appointments follow the departure in August 2017 of Advocate Adila Hassim who was co-founder and Director of Litigation at SECTION27. Hassim continues to work closely with SECTION27 and was most recently highly praised for her role as Counsel in the Life Esidimeni arbitration.

Umunyana joined SECTION27’s predecessor, the AIDS Law Project, in 2010 and has played a leading role in our work since then. She represented the Treatment Action Campaign and Sonke Gender Justice as the attorney of record when the organisations were admitted as friends of the court in the ground-breaking Silicosis class action. Umunyana led the SECTION27 team during the Competition Commission’s Health Market Inquiry and made representations to the panel on behalf of patient groups at the public hearings. Umunyana was a member of the team that fought for the rights of mental healthcare users in the Life Esidimeni case that spanned two years. Umunyana holds degrees from the State University of New York, Cornell University and the University of Cape Town. She also clerked at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Sasha Stevenson joined SECTION27 in October 2012 as a public health attorney. She led SECTION27’s work on the Life Esidimeni case and works on access to health care services including access to emergency medical services, medicines, services for migrants and mental health services in the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and elsewhere. Before joining SECTION27, Sasha worked as a Researcher for the late Chief Justice Langa at the Constitutional Court, for Bowmans, and for the Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court. She studied at Rhodes University and the University of Cambridge.

Faranaaz Veriava is a practising advocate. She holds a doctorate in law (LLD) on the right to basic education. She has worked at the Institute for Democratic Alternatives in South Africa and headed the Western Cape office of the South African Human Rights Commission. She was a founder of the Education Law Project at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies at Wits University. Faranaaz has practiced at the Johannesburg Bar. As one of our in-house counsel she has provided strategic guidance and been involved in a number of education cases. Most recently, she led the compilation and editing of the Basic Education Rights Handbook to make basic education law and policy more accessible.

All three women are seasoned and committed human rights lawyers who will take up these new leadership roles to take SECTION27 forward as a leading human rights organisation.

For more information contact Ntsiki Mpulo mpulo@section27.org.za or on 011 356 4100.