The week ahead: 6 – 10 July 2020
“Nothing is more undignified than starvation, particularly the starvation of a child…Dignity plays a very important residual role in informing the content of the right to basic education.”
Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi SC in the hearing of Equal Education and others v. The Department of Basic Education and Others 2 July 2020
Members of the SECTION27 team on the day of the National School Nutrition Programme case, where we – together with the Equal Education Law Centre – represented Equal Education and the school governing bodies of two schools in Limpopo.
Many businesses have returned to work with the easing of the lockdown from level 4 to level 3 on the 1 June 2020. SECTION27 staff will, however, continue to work remotely.
Our advice desk will only conduct telephonic consultations. The numbers to call or WhatsApp are 060 754 0751 or 067 419 6841.
The public interest organisations legal support hotline continues to be available to the public to contact regarding rights violations: 066 076 8845.
100 DAYS OF LOCKDOWN – 100 DAYS OF SECTION27
100 days have flown by during the nationwide lockdown to combat COVID-19, and we’ve been working hard throughout the period of lockdown to defend the rights to basic education and health. Here’s what we at SECTION27 have been doing during the period:
National Strategic Plan against Gender Based Violence and Femicide (NSP-GBVF)
SECTION27 members continue to support the work of the Call To Action civil society collective working to combat gender-based violence and femicide. Details of upcoming engagements are included below:
The Week That Was
NATIONAL SCHOOL NUTRITION PROGRAMME COURT HEARING
Our urgent application to reinstate the National School Nutrition Programme for all 9 million eligible learners (Equal Education and others v. The Department of Basic Education and Others) was heard virtually at the North Gauteng High Court on Thursday 2 July 2020 in front Judge Potteril. Represented by Advocate Geoff Budlender SC, Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi SC and Advocate Thabang Pooe, we argued that the constant backsliding of dates for the resumption of this critically important nutrition programme on the part of the Minister for Basic Education was irrational, unreasonable and unlawful. Judgement is reservedYou can watch the hearing on our Youtube channel by visiting these two links:
#SchoolMealsNow Equal Education & others v. Department of Basic Education & others 2 July 2020
You can read our heads of argument in the case here: https://section27.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Applicants-Heads-of-Argument.pdf
Earlier last week, we took to the streets ahead of the court hearing to generate public awareness of the need for #SchoolMealsNow! SECTION27 staff, along with partners from Equal Education, strung up banners with our demands on Beyers Naude Drive and Grayston Drive bridges on Monday 29 June, and picketed peacefully outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Tuesday 30 June 2020.
EQUAL EDUCATION FACEBOOK LIVE EVENT ON NSNP
In the lead up to the NSNP case, SECTION27 community mobiliser Solanga Milambo spoke to Equal Education’s learner members – otherwise known as Equalisers – in a Facebook live discussion on Wednesday 1 July 2020. You can watch Solly’s reflections on the importance of the NSNP, and his role in supporting the litigation here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=2677005019185567
BUDGET JUSTICE COALITION SUBMISSION TO THE SELECT AND STANDING COMMITTEES ON FINANCE ON THE 2020 SUPPLEMENTARY BUDGET
After Finance Minister Tito Mboweni tabled the supplementary budget last week, Budget Justice Coalition (BJC) members put together a submission to the Select and Standing Committees on Finance in parliament rejecting the proposed budget for its violation of constitutional rights and failure to “protect people against hunger, unemployment, social insecurity, declining availability of health care, basic education and access to electricity, among others”. BJC members gave a detailed analysis of the flaws of the supplementary budget, with Budget Analyst Daniel McLaren and Budget Intern Mangaliso Ndabeni at SECTION27 paying particular attention to funds allocated to (or away from) health and basic education. You can read the full submission here: https://budgetjusticesa.org/assets/downloads/Budget-Justice-Coalition-5-year-Review-Submission-to-Finance-Committees.pdf
ADV ADILA HASSIM NOMINATED FOR SILK
We congratulate the co-founder of SECTION27 and our former Director of Litigation, Advocate Adila Hassim on being recommended as a Silk (Senior Counsel) of the Johannesburg Bar. After a recommendation from the bar, the names go to the judge president of the applicable court, then to the minister of justice and, finally, to the president. This is a well-deserved honour and we have no doubt that presidential confirmation will soon follow. Womandla!
DR TLALENG MOFOKENG APPOINTED UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON RIGHT TO HEALTH
Friend of SECTION27 and sexual and reproductive health rights activist Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng has been appointed UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health! SECTION27 salutes Dr Mofokeng – known affectionately as “Dr T” – for their stellar contributions on the right to access sexual and reproductive health services and congratulates them for this well deserved honour. Womandla!
Here’s a video Dr T shot with SECTION27 on the need for bodily autonomy and the right to make informed choices about sexual and reproductive health rights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKXzAs3cZIw&fbclid=IwAR0reyFTepydaCzeegR-yPiTDBznyNRBVZell_t8VJNYu6rSKP761A3BxAY
U-turn as suspension of prominent North West doctor lifted
“I feel vindicated and I have been warmed and touched by the overwhelming support from doctors and patients – it kept my spirits up,” said Prof Ebrahim Variava after his precautionary suspension was lifted 29 June 2020. After much public outcry, Prof Ebrahim Variava has returned to his post as head of internal medicine at Klerksdorp Tshepong Hospital in North West Province. Read more: https://www.spotlightnsp.co.za/2020/06/29/u-turn-as-suspension-of-prominent-north-west-doctor-lifted/
COVID-19: The touching story of Nurse Angy Rabothatha
Testing positive for #COVID19 can be frightening and traumatic. Nurse Angy Rabothatha is among the many nurses who are part of government’s trace and support teams who help people with #COVID19 on their journey. She shared her story with Biénne Huisman below:
COVID-19: Inside a Western Cape quarantine and isolation hotel
Hospitals, hotels, office blocks and other facilities have been converted into quarantine and isolation centres where patients with COVID-19 can self isolate, and people in close contact with people with COVID-19 can quarantine until their test results come back. Learn more about life inside one of these converted hotels from Spotlight NSP:
COVID-19: How high-flow nasal oxygen is saving lives and sparing some patients the trauma of intubation
Doctors are now saying that there are positive outcomes from using high-flownasal oxygen for COVID-19 patients instead of intubation and mechanical ventilation. This non-invasive alternative to intubation is less traumatic and more accessible, relieving pressure on high-care units. Read more from Kathryn Cleary:
ANALYSIS: Has administration rehabilitated the North West Health Department?
“Are the recent medicine stockouts and the suspension of Variava just blips on the department’s way to recovery, or is it symptomatic of still deeply entrenched dysfunction in the department?” Spotlight Editor Marcus Low examines the history of the North West Department of Health, and investigates as to whether the decision to put the department under administration in April 2018 was effective in the article below: