Choices for a Sustainable Social Health Care
The Department of Health gave South Africans an opportunity until 21 September 2018 to comment on the National Health Insurance Bill. The heated debate on the creation of the National Health Insurance scheme (NHI) has focused on the affordability of the proposed scheme, the capacity of the state to deliver on the promised universal health care, and the future role of medical schemes. However, many other questions should be asked when deciding on the most appropriate form of national health care. Danny Pieters' contribution, 'Choices for a Sustainable Social Health Care', written from the perspective of a European expert in social health care, highlights the 12 most important questions that should be asked in this context. Brief biography: Prof Danny Pieters teaches social security law and comparative law at the Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven); holds a Phd in Law at the KU Leuven (1985); was a Member of the Belgian federal Parliament (1999-2003 Lower House; 2010-2013 Senate) and President of the Senate (2010-2011); has been Honorary President of the Senate of the Kingdom of Belgium since 2014; and was Vice Rector of KU Leuven (2013-2017). Download full text
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: Towards a more activist parliament more engaged with civil society - F1
This contribution consists of the edited text of a speech delivered by Yunis Carrim at the launch of the Community Law Centre’s Parliamentary Programme in Cape Town on 20 October 2010, and is reproduced here because of the importance of the issues it addresses in the context of South Africa’s evolving democratic practice.The central conclusion is that "neither Parliament nor civil society organisations are sufficiently recognising the value of effective engagement between them. Yet if they worked creatively together they would be able to put the executive under more pressure to deliver more effectively. ... The state alone cannot ensure a significant improvement in service delivery and development. ... So new opportunities are opening up for a more active role for civil society organisations. Let us make creative use of this. It’s over as much to you as it is to Parliament to do so. Are you up to it?"Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: The plight of domestic workers: The elusiveness of access to adequate housing
South Africa’s transformative Constitution calls for a holistic approach to realising the right to human dignity. To marginalised groups, such as domestic workers, this right is not confined to achieving better wages and working conditions; it touches every aspect of their lives. Central to this endeavour is the quest for adequate housing. This article discusses the experience of a housing cooperative consisting predominantly of domestic workers in campaigning for adequate housing, especially at local government level, as part of the struggle to achieve a secure and dignified existence. While identifying formidable obstacles, it also shows the interconnectedness of the various challenges and the need for a integrated approach in addressing them.Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: South African court rules on the state's obligation to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV
In Treatment Action Campaign and Others v Minister of Health and Others 2002 (4) BCLR 356 (T) the Pretoria High Court found in favour of the Treatment Action Campaign and others and against the Minister of Health on the issue of mother-to-child HIV transmission. The steps taken by the state in this regard, it was held, were not in compliance with its duty to take reasonable measures to achieve the progressive realisation of the right to access to health care services.On appeal, the Constitutional Court in Minister of Health and Others v Treatment Action Campaign and Others (1) 2002 (10) BCLR 1033 (CC) similarly found that existing state policy fell short of the constitutional standard and ordered the state to ôdevise and implement within its available resources a comprehensive and co-ordinated programme to realise progressively the rights of pregnant women and their newborn children to have access to health services to combat mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Geoff Budlender, who acted as attorney for the applicants in the High Court and subsequently in the Constitutional Court, provides a brief comment on the context and controversies surrounding the justiciability of socio-economic rights.Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: The need for a human rights culture
In celebration of Human Rights Day, Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel delivered the 4th Dullah Omar Memorial Lecture on 20 March 2007. The lecture examines the notions of “continuity” and “change” in the human rights context in South Africa’s recent history.Dealing with specific challenges against the backdrop of our Constitution, he criticises problems such as corruption and concludes that more must be done to address them. Minister Manuel also discusses the importance of a culture of human rights as well as the challenges faced by South Africa in its struggle to build such a culture, and advances recommendations on how to achieve these objectives.Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: Commentary on communications decided by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 2004
Waruguru Kaguongo reports on issues arising from decisions handed down by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 2004. A total of 12 communications were considered in that year, with seven communications being decided on the merits. .The article is divided into two main sections: issues implicit in the determination of admissibility, and those arising from consideration of the merits. On admissibility, the most often considered criterion was the requirement to exhaust local remedies. In determining compliance with this criterion, it is argued, the Commission displayed consistency with its previous jurisprudence. The exhaustion of local remedies, however, tended to take precedence over the other criteria and, it is suggested, the Commission failed to take the opportunity to further elaborate on the application of other criteria. In the relation to the merits, the author argues that the communications raised issue relating to evidence and the lack of consistency in how it affects decisions; the limitation of rights; the role of the Commission versus national jurisdictions; fair trial guarantees; interpretation of international treaties and the administrative capacity of the Commission and its effect on decisionsDownload full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: Get rights right in the interests of security of tenure
Review of Land, Power & Custom: Controversies Generated by South Africa’s Communal Land Rights Act, edited by Aninka Claassens & Ben Cousins; xv and pp 392 with accompanying DVD. Legal Resources Centre & UCT Press, Cape Town, 2008 Ann Pope gives a detailed overview of a book on a topic that has assumed critical importance in South Africa and, at the same time, analyses and comments on difficulties and dilemmas that have been encountered in securing indigenous land rights.The book was collated following the enactment of the Communal Land Rights Act 11 of 2004 and the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act 41 of 2003, in preparation for a challenge to the constitutionality of the former Act by alleging that it “undermines the rights of rural people to make them less secure than before”. Judgment in Tongoane and Others v National Minister for Agriculture and Land Affairs and Others (11678/2006)  ZAGPPHC 127 (30 October 2009) has since been delivered, its findings being mostly in favour of the applicants. An analysis of the judgment is followed by further reflection on a number of issues. The discussion shows that, while the applicants in Tongoane can rightly claim victory for succeeding in having several provisions of the CLRA declared unconstitutional, important questions remain unanswered. The author suggests that the implications of such omissions will need careful and thoughtful treatment by the Constitutional Court during the confirmation hearing at the beginning of March 2010. At the time of publication the judgment in this hearing was not yet available.Download full text.
FORUM CONTRIBUTION: The growing informalisation of work: Challenges for labour
Rudi Dicks discusses the South African phenomenon of “informalisation” of the workforce, which is characterised by workers shifting from permanent employment to casualised and fixed-term contracts, outsourcing and employment through labour brokers.These forms of employment are accompanied by, lack of job security, undermining of basic conditions of employment, erosion of workplace rights and decreasing access to skills and equity at work. The author considers the effects of the process and concludes by suggesting measures to provide legislative protection to vulnerable workers, including the establishment of a tripartite statutory body to regulate labour brokers; the development of a code of good practice for workers engaged in atypical employment contracts and improving monitoring and enforcement mechanisms through tougher penalties.Download full text.