Friday 19 July

Section27 Focus Areas

SECTION27’s strength is in our agility and our ability to retain our strategic focus while responding to current needs. Budgeting for socio-economic rights, climate justice, gender justice and civic education are cross-cutting themes of our work.

The Right to Basic Education

Rights to Basic Education

SECTION27 focuses on the immediately realisable nature of the right to basic education through policy development, law reform, research, advocacy and litigation that results in improved quality in areas of the basic education system. SECTION27’s focus is on basic education provisioning (including sanitation and infrastructure); removing barriers to education for vulnerable groups of learners (including migrant learners and learners with disabilities); school safety (including protecting learners from sexual violence and corporal punishment); developing the legal framework for basic education (including through submissions on the Basic Education Laws Amendment [BELA] Bill and on the fiscal budget); legal literacy (including through trainings in schools, the development of the Basic Education Handbook); and joint civil society work on the right to read.

Topics in this area of work:

The Right to Access Quality Health Care Services

SECTION27 addresses access to quality health care services by tackling the structural issues that hinder the health system’s ability to realise the right to access health care services; targeting health rights violations that impact the most vulnerable groups; and holding relevant role-players to account. We have engaged with the National Health Insurance law-making process since its inception, work on health financing and corruption through budget advocacy and collaboration with the Special Investigating Unit on health corruption, and work on access to medicine barriers nationally and globally. We focus on the reproductive health rights of women, including access to abortion; the rights of mental health care users; the rights of migrants; the rights of people living with HIV; and the rights of people needing emergency medical treatment. 

Topics in this area of work:

Access to Healthcare Rights

Budgeting for Socio-economic Rights

Budgeting for Socio-Economic Rights

Budgeting for socio-economic rights is an essential aspect of our work in both education and health rights. It provides a distinct advantage to our advocacy and litigation efforts. We ensure that budget analysis is integrated into all the work we do at SECTION27. Our goal is to advocate for budgetary policies that contribute to the progressive realisation of socio-economic rights. To achieve this, we collaborate with partner organisations to champion human rights-based budgeting. Additionally, we call for gender-based better prioritisation of funding for health and education, as well as increased public participation in the budgeting process at all levels of government.

Our partners include:

Climate Justice

Climate change poses a significant threat to the realisation of the rights to access to health care services and basic education. As a result, we are dedicated to utilising our expertise, knowledge, and resources to address the intersection between climate, health, and education. By collaborating with key partners and stakeholders from the health, education, and climate justice sectors, our goal is to achieve two primary objectives. Firstly, we aim to integrate the climate crisis into the human rights discourse, particularly in relation to the right to access quality healthcare and basic education. Additionally, we strive to hold the state accountable and ensure compliance with its existing domestic and international obligations.

Campaigns and activities:

Climate Justice

Civic Education

Rule of Law

The extensive and continued lack of constitutional literacy remains a significant challenge for us and for society more broadly. The Foundation for Human Rights SEJA Baseline survey published in March 2018 found that only 51% of people had heard of either the Constitution or the Bill of Rights and that the people least likely to be aware of the Constitution were the people most in need of its protections. In order to catalyse social change and address the rise in anti-democratic forces, partners and communities must entrench constitutional literacy so that people are empowered to demand their rights and hold government accountable. Grassroots activism and civic education programmes committed to the values of democracy and constitutionalism on which the post-apartheid state was built but which is currently under threat must be reignited. Our work focuses on democracy and constitutional literacy, including public awareness on issues such as corruption and the importance of accountability and good governance.

Gender Justice

SECTION27 serves some of the most vulnerable communities, who are predominantly marginalised Black communities living in poverty. In both of our core focus areas, a gendered focus is necessary, as seen in the work on abortion, sexual and reproductive health, sanitation in schools, sexual violence in schools, and learner pregnancy. In these cases, the rights to equality and human dignity are read together with section 27 (access to health care) or section 29 (access to basic education). SECTION27 seeks to adopt an intersectional approach to its feminist methodology. The reason behind this is that it is necessary to respond to and advance the interests of women in all of their diversity. In a multicultural society like South Africa that is plagued by social and other forms of inequity, we need to respond to all of these in all of their permutations.

Gender Justice South Africa