PRESS RELEASECOURT TO CONSIDER LEGALISING EUTHANASIA IN SOUTH AFRICA - 26 APRIL 2022
PRESS RELEASE BY CAUSE FOR JUSTICE: 26 APRIL 2022
* FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE *
SUBJECT: COURT TO CONSIDER LEGALISING EUTHANASIA IN SOUTH AFRICA
A legal challenge has been mounted against the total criminal prohibition of euthanasia in South African law. The parties who challenge the constitutionality of the current law (Walter and Harck), both suffer from terminal illnesses. They instituted court action in the Johannesburg High Court in August 2017, seeking to legalise physician assisted suicide (PAS)  and active voluntary euthanasia or physician assisted euthanasia (PAE) .
Both PAS and PAE are prohibited under current South African law and are treated either as murder (unjustified intentional killing) or culpable homicide (unjustified negligent killing).
Human rights and public interest organisation, Cause for Justice, is participating in the proceedings as a ‘friend of the court’ party. The trial was initially set down for hearing in the Johannesburg High Court from 3 May 2022 onwards, but was removed from the court roll on 11 April 2022, to allow the main (plaintiffs and defendants) to finalise certain outstanding matters relating the expert evidence.
Cause for Justice (CFJ) is participating in the case as a ‘friend of the court’ party. In preparation, our legal team met with an internationally recognised expert to discuss important aspects of our case.
On 11 April 2022, the matter was removed from the court roll in order to allow the main parties to finalise certain outstanding matters relating to their expert evidence. Once attended to, the matter will be re-enrolled.
According to CFJ, legalising the killing of human beings has far-reaching societal consequences: diminishing the worth of human life, inevitably erodes all other fundamental rights since each human right is anchored by the value of and right to human life. That is why it cannot support the legalising of euthanasia in any form. However well-intentioned, PAS and PAE is not ‘medical treatment’ or response to human sickness and suffering, it says.
To this end, CFJ is preparing to defend the constitutional value of human life and dignity (worth) in court. It is adamant that PAS and PAE does not protect human dignity, but on the contrary, destroys it. According to the human rights organisation, the bedrock constitutional principle is clear: all human lives have inherent dignity (worth) and are of inestimable value.
CFJ is committed to advocating for the protection and promotion of constitutional fundamental rights and freedoms in South Africa.
[PRESS RELEASE ENDS]
For further queries, contact CFJ at:
Tel: 074 355 0775
 PAS refers to suicide committed by a patient which was facilitated by some ‘means’ (such as prescribing a drug or by providing information – such as an indication of a lethal dosage) provided by a physician who was aware of the patient’s intent to commit suicide.
 PAE or ‘active voluntary euthanasia’ refers the killing of a patient by a physician through measures such as administering a lethal dosage of a drug.