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.
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and the AIDS Law Project (ALP) recognise the need for, and strongly support, legislative reform to ensure that the Medicines Control Council (MCC) is able effectively and efficiently to regulate medicines and other health products. This, we are told, is the ostensible purpose of the draft Medicines and Related Substances Amendment Bill, 2008 (“the draft Bill”)1.
The National Health Amendment Bill (the Bill) was simultaneously published with the Medicines Amendment Bill on 18 April 2008. Both Bills are some of the most important pieces of health legislation to be proposed in recent years. The Medicines Amendment Bill is the subject of a separate submission that accompanies this one.
On 15 and 16 May 2008, a ground breaking case on the constitutionality of HIV testing policies that are used to exclude ALL people with HIV from recruitment to, promotion or foreign deployment in the SA National Defence Force was heard in the Pretoria High Court.
The court was asked to declare the blanket exclusion unconstitutional, order the appointment or promotion of individual’s adversely affected by the policy and to order the SANDF to devise a new policy within six months.
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and the AIDS Law Project (ALP) welcome this opportunity to make a submission to the Panel for the Independent Assessment of Parliament. The TAC and ALP are civil society organizations dedicated to upholding the rights of people to have access to health care services, to ensuring that the state discharges its positive constitutional obligations in respect of that right, and to ensuring a comprehensive response to HIV/AIDS both domestically and internationally.
The AIDS Law Project (ALP) and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) focus much of their work on ensuring that full and meaningful effect is given to the Bill of Rights recognition that “[e]veryone has the right to have access to … health care services” and that the “state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realization” of this right.