Supreme Court of Appeal rules against ‘right to die’

By Mieke Vlok
07 December 2016

The court was wrong when they declared that sick people may choose to end their own lives last year.

This is what an appeal court decided on Tuesday morning after the Pretoria high court decided last year that people may choose to die.

“An order making such a profound change to our law of murder, without any consideration of applicable principles, should not have been made and it must now be set aside,” this was according to the five judges of the appeal court.

After adv. Robin Stransham-Ford, who was terribly ill as a result of cancer, won the right to die last year, the Suid-Afrikaanse Raad vir Gesondheidsberoepe filed against the decision and the appeal court approved their motion on Tuesday.

Stransham-Ford died mere hours before the court delivered the verdict in April last year.

The appeal court also alleges that there is proof Stranstham-Ford changed his mind only hours before his death and said he didn’t want to die anymore. He apparently asked his doctor if he could change his mind and said he was having nightmares about the death.

Tuesday was a huge setback to champions who ask that people on the brink of death due to illness be given the choice to end their own life.

“The question has to be asked: what kind of government lets its people suffer so horrendously, despite their clear and informed wish to die, because it is too controversial,” said the organisation Dignity SA, who supported Stranstham-Ford in his case, in a statement on Tuesday.

Read more:

Assisted dying applicant dies peacefully

Court rules on ‘right to die’ case

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