7.1 Constitutional Mandate

The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (1996), places an obligation on the state to progressively realise socio-economic rights, including access to healthcare. Section 27 of Chapter 2 of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution (1996) states the following with regard to healthcare, food, water, and social security:

  • Everyone has the right to have access to healthcare services, including reproductive healthcare, sufficient food and water and social security as well as appropriate social assistance if they are unable to support themselves and their dependants.
  • The State must take reasonable legislative and other measures within the ambit of its available resources to achieve the progressive realisation of each of these rights, and no one may be refused emergency medical treatment.