Euthanasia in South Africa

April 2015: South Africa’s first euthanasia court case in the High Court

On 29 April 2015 Cause For Justice was admitted as friends of the court in the application by Adv. Stransham-Ford, in which he requested the High Court in Pretoria to sanction his euthanasia and/or assisted suicide. Adv. Stransham-Ford basically asked the court to acknowledge a right to end his own life with the help of a medical doctor and without the doctor being prosecuted for assisting him in his death.

The Minister of Health, the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services (“the State”) and the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) opposed the application in court. Cause For Justice opposed the application as friends of the court. On Thursday, 30 April 2015, Judge Fabricius made a ruling that Stransham-Ford may be assisted in his death by means of euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide. News broke later on the same day that Stransham-Ford died of natural causes the morning before the judgement was made.

November 2016: The case goes on appeal

The State and the HPCSA have taken the High Court’s decision of 30 April 2015 on appeal. Cause For Justice applied to the SCA to be admitted as a friend of the court on 20 January 2016. You can view our Application here. On 2 February 2016 the Court made an order for our admission as a friend of the court. View the Order here.

The appeal case will be heard in the Supreme Court of Appeal(SCA) in Bloemfontein on the 4th of November 2016. You can view the Notice of Set Down of Appeal here.

CFJ’s legal team is hard at work in preparation for the upcoming court battle in November when it will once again take part in the hearing as friends of the court.

Why is this such an important case for South Africa?

This is South Africa’s first euthanasia case under its Constitution. The SCA will have to decide whether our Constitution does indeed provide for a so called “right to die”. Cause for Justice is of the view that the Constitution does not grant such a right since it expressly says that “Everyone has the right to life” (in section 11). If you agree with us that the door to active killing should not be opened in South Africa and therefore Africa, we request that you get involved by either making a donation to this cause and/or become a supporter of Cause for Justice by clicking here.

The judgment of the SCA

On 6 December 2016, we received the judgment from the Supreme Court of Appeal that the Appeal was upheld. In essence, this means that euthanasia, including instances where the physician assists the patient to end his/her life, remains illegal in South Africa. You can view the judgment here.

Media coverage of the matter the past month

Follow the links below to read, listen to and/or watch the media coverage regarding the Appeal case.



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