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Justice Ministry welcomes ruling against ‘right to die’

The Supreme Court of Appeal overturned the High Court verdict which gave terminally ill patients the right to assisted suicide.

Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG – The Justice Ministry has welcomed the decision overturning an earlier ruling which granted a terminally ill patient the right to die.

Last year, the High Court ruled that Cape Town advocate Robin Stransham-Ford had the right to end his life with the help of a doctor.

Stransham-Ford who had been suffering from cancer died before the High Court ruled on his case.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled in government’s favour, overturning the High Court verdict.

The Justice Ministry’s Mthunzi Mhaga says: “We are relieved that the earlier judgment was set aside, given the fact that the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Health have serious reservations about the implications which are far reaching on the constitutionally entrenched right to life.”

At the same time, civil organisation, Dying with Dignity SA says it will approach the constitutional court in its fight to have assisted suicide legalised in the country.

The organisation’s Professor Sean Davison says he is disappointed by the SCA ruling.

“This case was about a terminally ill man suffering unbearably at the end of his life. Surely any humane person would allow him to choose his time of death, and to die with dignity. This is very disappointing.”

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)