The crisis faced by healthcare systems across provinces in South Africa is one of management rather than a shortage of funds. Corruption and nepotism are rife and are accompanied by a lack of accountability and oversight of officials. Interventions launched have been unable to stem the crisis. Further, the Department of Health has no systems for monitoring the quality of its health services, rather than just their quantity.

In the past, the right to health, enshrined in section 27 of the Constitution, has been progressively upheld and strengthened in a constitutional challenge to ensure the provision of access to anti-retroviral medicines.

There have also been a number of victories that have been related to litigation processes (frequently these cases have been settled and have therefore been less public in nature) – some have been individualised and others have had a significant impact on a reduction in the price of medication.

Health activists, most notably the TAC, continue to campaign more broadly for access to healthcare. These critical interventions have highlighted the importance of the continued work of the public interest legal services sector in relation to healthcare.

Organisations Working in the Space

  • Section 27
  • Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC)
  • Women’s Legal Centre (WLC)


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