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.
We condemn in the strongest terms the 14 years of hard labour sentence handed down by a court in Blantyre to Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga for committing so-called “unnatural acts”. Steven and Tiwonge were arrested in December 2009 after celebrating their engagement and have been in jail ever since.
Following the initiation of legal proceedings, on 7 May 2010, the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (CIPRO) has agreed to permit the AIDS Law Project (ALP) to reserve the name SECTION27, incorporating the AIDS Law Project.
CIPRO initially refused to reserve the name, SECTION27, incorporating the AIDS Law Project, explaining as follows, “your proposed name connote government patronage. The wording employed to serve as a name, cannot be allowed and are calculated to cause damage, moreover misleading and damaging”. CIPRO also refused our request on the basis of a comparison with existing names on its database, however, they bore no resemblance to the requested name.
Fourteen years ago, our freely elected representatives adopted the Constitution – in part – to “free the potential of each person”, “[h]eal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights”.
The ALP’s final review covers the organisation’s work from January 2009 through March 2010. While focusing on recent work, this review also reflects on experiences and developments over the past 17 years as it considers the transition to SECTION27.
The AIDS Law Project (ALP) welcomes the Minister of Health’s budget speech of 13th April 2010. We are encouraged by his commitment to strengthen the public health system, the setting of clear targets for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment and the urgency in the Minister’s approach to tackling the health crisis in South Africa.