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The oncology crisis in KZN during the period 2015–2017: do cervical cancer patients have a civil remedy?

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Through our history, South African women have been a disadvantaged and vulnerable group in our society. Therefore, they still require the protection of their fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution. This dissertation sets out to evaluate civil remedies that are appropriate for cervical cancer patients, who have suffered and continue to suffer, from harm caused by the recent oncology crisis in the KZN public health sector. This dissertation explores the impact of delayed oncology treatment on cervical cancer patients, during the period 2015 – 2017. This has been done through the findings of the SAHRC’s investigation into the crisis, as well as other key individuals who have been advocates for the health rights of South African women. It also highlights the various constitutional and legislative breaches, particularly the right of access to health care as envisaged by section 27 of the Constitution. The actions of the KZN Health Management have also been evaluated using the findings of the KZN Treasury and advocacy groups, to determine these member’s contribution to the breakdown of oncology services in KZN. This may be used as a guide to evaluate who may be held liable for the harm caused to cervical cancer patients. The dissertation also goes on to emphasise the need for disciplinary action by the HPCSA, for members of the KZN Health Management who are also practicing medical practitioners. Finally, this dissertation proposes civil remedies that are available to cervical cancer patients, as well as, the dependants of women who have died as a result of not receiving timeous treatment. This has been done against the complex backdrop of socio-economic right violations, and the need for effective relief under such circumstances.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.