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.
A case coming before the Constitutional Court holds serious consequences for public health and the fight against TB in South Africa. South Africa has one of the highest incidence rates of TB in the world. TB is the leading cause of death in South Africa and has been for many years. HIV co-infection and the increasing prevalence of drug resistant TB add to the urgency of addressing the TB epidemic. Doing so should be a top priority of the state.
SECTION27, Sonke, the Equality Project and TAC feel compelled to make public our views on how those who participated in the process were unfairly attacked, how Justice Mogoeng’s responses did little to address our concerns and how the JSC failed to discharge its constitutional mandate. We do so primarily because of our commitment to ensuring that future interviews for judicial appointment – to all superior courts – are conducted in an open and accountable process. While important, live broadcasting alone cannot guarantee that this happens.
The full press release is available at http://section27.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Joint_press_release_on_MM_-_201109061.pdf
The Judicial Services Commission (JSC) made a call for submissions ahead of their interview of Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng on 3 September 2011. SECTION27, Sonke Gender Justice, the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project and the Treatment Action Campaign have responded to this call.
On 18 July 2011, the Constitutional Court heard argument in the matter concerning the President’s recent extension of the Chief Justice’s term of office (set to expire at midnight on 14 August 2011). As set out in our last newsletter, SECTION27 acted on behalf of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL), which was admitted as amicus curiae (“friend of the court”).
On 15 July 2010, SECTION27, incorporating the AIDS Law Project and the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) made a joint submission on the draft Constitution Nineteenth Amendment Bill and the Superior Courts Bill to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.
The Bills propose establishing a single judiciary with the Constitutional Court as the apex court for all legal matters. The submission focuses primarily on the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court; the regulation of the terms of office of judges of the Constitutional Court; and the expansion of the mandate of the Judicial Service Commission.