24 October 2004

A press release by the Department of Health misleadingly titled 'TAC withdraws

legal action against Health Department' has just come to our attention (see

below for the statement).

Please note that TAC has not withdrawn its legal action or its claim that the

Ministry of Health has a legal duty to have an implementation plan and to make

it publicly available.

However, in the face of the claim, made under oath in the government's Answering

Affidavit, that Annexure A is a "draft" that was never approved, we have

accepted that under the Promotion of Access to Information Act we are no longer

in a position to pursue the publication of Annexure A.

We will, however, be going to Court on 4 November to argue that government

should pay punitive costs in view of the numerous occasions between February

2004 and September 2004 when they failed to provide this information to TAC or

the public, thereby continuing to mislead people that a detailed implementation

plan does exist (these occasions are set out in full in our letter to the State


TAC is astounded that Cabinet approved a Comprehensive Plan that, according to

the Ministry, had no targets or timetables for implementation.

We agree with Mr Mngadi that it is "unfortunate that much effort and resources

had to be put into legal processes before the matter could be resolved". This

is why we will be seeking punitive costs. But we also dispute that the matter

is 'resolved'. It will only be resolved when the Ministry conducts itself in

the manner required by the Constitution by either (a) making an Implementation

Plan, if one exists, available to the people of South Africa or (b) urgently

developing an implementation plan and publishing it (if one does not exist) .

Should it be necessary legal action will continue to be used in order to ensure

that the government conducts itself properly.

Court papers related to the case can be found at


This provides a fuller picture of how this dispute has evolved.

On 4 November, when the case appears in the Pretoria High Court, there will be

demonstrations in major cities throughout SA to demand an implementation plan

and insists on our right to information.

Below is a more detailed explanation of the court case.

Contact Sipho Mthathi (0843007007), Fatima Hassan (0832799962), Nonkosi Khumalo

(0722311422) or Mark Heywood (0836348806) for further details.