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 are a range of organisations who campaign for the right to health, and/or who provide health care services to poor people who depend on the public health sector. We fully support the efforts of the government to improve health care services. We also support unions and their members who are at the front line of health care provision, and who justifiably try and draw attention to the difficult conditions in which most health care workers operate.
TAC and SECTION27 call on government and unions to find an urgent solution to the human resource crisis in the health system.
On 6th September 2010 the public sector strike was suspended to allow trade unions to consult their members on whether to accept the government’s revised offer on pay and other conditions. We urge the union members to seriously consider this offer as the public health system cannot afford a return to the strike. We are aware that many workers will regard acceptance of the offer as a compromise and that it may not satisfy public sector workers’ demands for a reasonable standard of living or a salary commensurate with the contribution they make to our society. Nonetheless we believe that it should be accepted.
A week into the public sector strike the Treatment Action Campaign and SECTION27 regret that no agreement has been reached between striking public service workers and the government. We support the demands of workers and their right to strike. But we regret the growing polarisation, pain and loss of life. This is now a political crisis that requires political leadership and a solution.