This morning, Judge Brian Southwood dismissed Minister Balfour’s application for leave to appeal against the decision by the Northern Gauteng High Court ordering that TAC and ALP be given access to the report of the Judicial Inspectorate of Prisons (JIOP) regarding the death of prisoner ‘MM’. MM died in a Westville prison after having been denied access to ARVs. Justice Southwood described the Minister’s application for leave to appeal as ill-conceived, and ordered the government to pay the legal costs incurred by TAC and ALP.
The JIOP report had already been released to the public in the wake of Judge Southwood’s earlier order. TAC and ALP believes that Balfour’s application for leave to appeal that order was a shameful waste of public funds. Balfour’s counsel, Adv. Moerane, explained Balfour’s motivation in seeking leave to appeal -- notwithstanding the fact that the report had already been released -- as being to refute allegation he had lied about the report.
The Minister of Correctional Services (DCS) has applied for leave to appeal against the decision by the Northern Gauteng High Court in the ‘MM’ case. This case was brought by the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and our attorneys, the AIDS Law Project, to be given access to the report of the Judicial Inspectorate of Prisons (JIOP) regarding the premature and unnecessary death of ‘MM’. A hearing regarding the appeal will take place on Friday 13 March 2009 at the Pretoria High Court.
This case is about accountability of Minister Balfour and his Department, and the public’s right to know the causes of death of a person in their custody. It is also about the waste of scarce public finances in a time where need for ARV treatment is great.
Cape Town and New Delhi
March to Parliament - 19 September 2006
Released 22:30 (GMT+2)
Government in contempt of court - Must treat Westville prisoners
President Mbeki, Minister Tshabalala-Msimang: Stop obstructing access to treatment
A health system in crisis and without leadership: A TAC briefing sheet
23 August 2006
TAC calls for a global day of action on Thursday 24 August 2006 End 1000 new HIV infections and 800 deaths daily in South Africa Build a global united front for HIV prevention and treatment