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.
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 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.
This submission argues that there is a growing crisis of disease and ill health in South Africa that not only undermines the quality of life of millions of individuals, but also crucial programmes aimed at the reconstruction and development of the country. Much of this crisis could have been avoided. It results, in large part, from the failure of government to recognize the link between fundamental rights to dignity, equality and autonomy and the state’s constitutional obligations in respect of the right to have access to health care services.
In our submission to the Department of Science and Technology (DST) on the draft Intellectual Property Rights from Publicly Financed Research Framework, we noted that “[w]hile we continue to advocate for the development of an intellectual property framework in South Africa that generally facilitates access to essential products, our primary concern is that the legislation and regulations . . . that will result from this process make particular provision for ensuring access to the products of research that were developed using public resources.”
A week after Cabinet adopted the Operational Plan for Comprehensive HIV and AIDS Care, Management and Treatment for South Africa (“the Operational Plan”) in November 2003, MM – an inmate at Westville Correctional Centre and the seventh applicant in the case of EN v Government of Republic of South Africa (No 1) – was diagnosed withoesophageal candidiasis, an AIDS-defining illness.