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Dolly Lebakeng
Tel: 011 356 4100
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SECTION27 is a well-established and widely respected public interest law centre that aims to achieve substantive equality and social justice in South Arica. Guided by the principles and values of the Constitution, SECTION27 uses law, advocacy, legal literacy, research and community mobilisation to advance the rights of access to healthcare services, basic education and sufficient food. The promotion of rights, equality and dignity as well as the principles of governance and accountability underpin its work. Its mission is to achieve systemic change and expand access to justice for marginalised and vulnerable citizens, ensuring that they are empowered to realise their constitutional rights.

The right to access quality health care services

Through a combination of research, advocacy, rights awareness and litigation SECTION27 addresses health systems failures and demand accountability. The organisation strategically focuses on critical health systems issues, including emergency medical services in the Eastern Cape; monitoring of the HIV/AIDS programme; sexual and reproductive health rights; the rights of mental health care users; advocating for the regulation of the private health care sector in order to ensure greater equality in the health care system; and more recently, rights during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SECTION27 has been doing significant advocacy work around National Health Insurance (NHI), convening civil society and engaging a number of stakeholders. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organisation has been monitoring and reporting on health rights during COVID-19, and holding government accountable to provide health services. This includes sexual and reproductive health rights issues, litigating in favour of the proper regulation of complementary medicines, and advocating for equitable and affordable COVID-19 treatment and vaccines. Highlights of SECTION27’s health work include the Life Esidimeni case and its work on sexual and reproductive health rights. 

The right to basic education

SECTION27's overall objective is to continue to focus on the immediately realisable nature of the right to basic education through policy development, law reform and litigation that results in improved quality in areas of the basic education system. SECTION27's focus is on basic education in Limpopo (sanitation, textbooks and infrastructure); and access to education for learners with disabilities in KwaZulu-Natal (post provisioning at special schools, Braille textbooks and scholar transport policy). Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the organisation has been monitoring education rights, regulations for reopening of schools, access to education, and litigated for the reinstatement of the National School Nutrition Programme for all eligible learners. Highlights of SECTION27’s education work include the textbooks in Limpopo case, the Michael Komape case, the school sanitation advocacy campaign, and the school nutrition case more recently.

SECTION27’s health outcomes focus on|:

  1. A unified and equal health system that realises everyone's constitutional right of access to health care services
  2. In the light of increasing budget constraints, immediately realisable components of the right to health are met

SECTION27’s education outcomes focus on:

  1. The immediately realisable nature of the right to basic education is realised through legal action and litigation that results in improved quality in the education system
  2. Work with partners results in a renewed political commitment to quality basic education.

Additionally, SECTION27 aims to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Mental Health Review Board functioning and powers and details known to the public
  • Gauteng Department of Health develops a turnaround plan for the provision of mental health services together with civil society partners
  • NGOs providing services to mental health care users in Gauteng are properly licensed
  • Mental Health Licensing Regulations are amended and improved to ensure safety
  • Officials named in the Life Esidimeni arbitration are held accountable
  • Increased budget allocations for mental health in provincial and national budgets
  • Successful judgment in a litigation case for access to Emergency Medical Services in the Eastern Cape ensures access by all, specifically to ambulances and trained paramedics
  • Government compliance with minimum standards for school infrastructure
  • A sanitation plan is in place which ensures accessible, safe and hygienic sanitation facilities at schools in Limpopo
  • All blind learners across all grades have access to CAPS-aligned textbooks in all of their subjects

Last updated:

20 November 2021