Justice minister: Right to die is in conflict with Constitution

Government yesterday won its appeal against a court order granting a terminally ill man the right to end his life.

Picture: SAPS

CAPE TOWN – The Justice Department says a court ruling granting Advocate Robin Stransham-Ford his request for an assisted death clashes with the Constitution.

Government on Tuesday won its appeal against a court order granting a terminally ill Stransham-Ford the right to end his life.

He died in April last year, hours before the court ruled in favour of his application.

Justice Department spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga says the order granted by the North Gauteng High Court stating that Stransham-Ford may end his end his life through euthanasia, is in breach of the Constitution.

“Minister of Justice and Minister of Health have serious reservations about the implications which are far-reaching on the constitutional entrench right to life.”

The organisation Dying with Dignity South Africa’s Sean Davison disagrees with the court’s ruling.

“We’re certainly not giving up and following legal advice, we intend to take this to the Constitutional Court.”

Coordinator of Lobby group Euthanasia Exposed, Philip Rosenthal, says the High Court ruling could have destabilised the Constitutional order in the country.

“The decision was made in haste and didn’t properly consider South African laws and the impact on the right to life.”

The Supreme Court of Appeal also stated Parliament, and not the courts, should be involved in a debate around doctor-assisted suicide.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)