Thursday 13 June

We aim to have an impact on the lives of our primary beneficiaries by using our strategies to address and breakdown systemic barriers to accessing health care services and basic education. The impact is direct and indirect, including assisting adolescents and young women to access sexual and reproductive health services such as abortion services, contraceptives, ARVs, as well as influencing policy change to make such access real for vulnerable groups, including migrants.

Our litigation is impactful both for any individual clients, but for all others in that group such as in the Life Esidimeni matter, which is focused on users of mental health care services. Although we do assist individual members of the public who approach us for assistance, a guiding question that drives our work is to what extent our involvement can result in systemic improvement, particularly in the public health and education systems. Our primary beneficiaries are all users of the public health and education systems.

SECTION27 has, together with partners, achieved legal, material and political impact from its litigation and advocacy successes in the recent past, including but not limited to:

Successfully fighting for the reinstatement of the National School Nutrition Programme for all 9 million eligible learners in all grades during the COVID-19 pandemic.The High Court made a landmark judgment, affirming that the Department of Basic Education (DBE) was responsible for ensuring that learners have access to sufficient food as part of its obligations to realise the right to food and the right to education.

Successfully representing the family of Michael Komape, a 5-year old boy who drowned in a school pit latrine in Limpopo. The Supreme Court of Appeal awarded damages to the family and ordered the DBE to provide an audit and plan to address the school sanitation crisis. As a direct result of our rigorous monitoring of the court order, as of January 2023, 770 of the 2092 planned sanitation projects in Limpopo have been completed and 92 schools have been provided with mobile toilets.

Beyond the courtroom, SECTION27’s SRHR initiative reached 961 learners in 2022, educating them on essential topics from teen pregnancy to GBV. Our champion skills workshops trained 12 learners in radio and community reporting, equipping the next generation with transferrable skills and essential knowledge.

SECTION27 and BlindSA successfully challenging the constitutionality of the Copyright Act of 1978 in the High Court, to the extent that it hinders the availability of accessibly formatted materials for persons who are blind or partially sighted. The court judgment provides a vast and immediate improvement to access to books in accessible formats for people who are blind. SECTION27’s tenacity in negotiating with the Gauteng Treasury and Gauteng Department of Health has resulted in the allocation of R784 million for surgical and radiation oncology backlogs.

SECTION27 recently obtained a groundbreaking court order that not only directs that all pregnant and lactating women and children under six, regardless of their nationality or immigration status are entitled to free health services at all public health facilities, but requires government to inform both health facilities and patients across the country of the order and to periodically report back to court on its compliance with the order.