Case: Solidarity and Another v Minister of Health and 16 Others (3623/21)
Court: Gauteng Provincial Division, Pretoria
Date of hearing: TBC
Status: Matter withdrawn
Case overview: The Health Justice Initiative, represented by Power Singh Inc, has filed an application to intervene as an amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the matter of Solidarity and Another v Minister of Health and 16 Others (Case number 3623/21), which will be heard before the Pretoria High Court during March 2021. The matter concerns the authority of the national government to be the sole procurer of COVID-19 vaccines. The applicants, Solidarity and Afriforum NPC, are challenging the constitutionality and legality of the National Department of Health’s roll-out strategy, as set out in the department’s “COVID-19 response” document of 7 January 2021.
The applicants seek a declaratory order stating that any institution in the private sector, as well as any provincial health authority, may procure, distribute and administer COVID-19 vaccines, pursuant to approval by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority.
In its amicus curiae application, the HJI intends to make two submissions:
- The first concerns the proper interpretation of the constitutional right to health care in the context of a pandemic, where vaccine supplies are scarce. The HJI argues that should the private sector and provincial government be authorised to procure vaccines, in effective competition with the national government, this would exacerbate the high levels of inequity in our country.
- The second seeks to provide the court with a comparative analysis of the approach adopted in various foreign jurisdictions, which supports state-centralisation for vaccine negotiation, procurement, and allocation. State-centralisation, which is rooted in public health principles and epidemiological needs, with the aid and partnership with different sectors of society can provide useful guidance on the role of the national government in securing vaccines for all.
- Solidarity’s Urgent Application (27 January 2021)
- HJI’s Application for Admission as an Amicus Curiae (18 February 2021)
- The First and Second Respondent’s Answering Affidavit (22 February 2021)
- Fourth Respondent’s Answering Affidavit (23 February 2021)
- HJI Press Release (22 February 2021)