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.
Cabinet recently resolved to ask Parliament to take the necessary steps to enable South Africa to ratify a decision taken by the World Trade Organization (WTO) on intellectual property and access to medicines. At its meeting held on 16 March 2011, Cabinet decided to request Parliament to –
– ratify the WTO decision on the implementation of paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health; and
– deposit “an instrument of ratification … with the WTO.”
As organisations that are committed to ensuring universal access to essential medicines, as an integral part of the constitutional right to have access to health care services, TAC and SECTION27 call on Parliament not to ratify the decision. In this press statement we explain why we make this call.
On 14 February 2011, SECTION27 made a written submission on the Department of Social Development’s Draft Regulations under the Social Assistance Act, 2004 (“Draft Regulations”). The Draft Regulations deal with the appeal procedure for aggrieved applicants for social assistance, first to the South African Social Security Agency (“SASSA”) and then to the Independent Tribunal for Appeals (“Tribunal”).
SECTION27 recommended certain procedural and substantive changes to the Draft Regulations that are important for the realisation of the right to social assistance guaranteed by section 27 of the Constitution.
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and the AIDS Law Project (ALP) welcome this opportunity to make a submission to the Panel for the Independent Assessment of Parliament. The TAC and ALP are civil society organizations dedicated to upholding the rights of people to have access to health care services, to ensuring that the state discharges its positive constitutional obligations in respect of that right, and to ensuring a comprehensive response to HIV/AIDS both domestically and internationally.