Failure to notify opposition

The attorneys Nkosi-Rogers, applying for euthanasia on behalf of Robert Stransham-Ford were requested to but failed to notify opposing parties of the case, thus attempting to misuse urgency to slip the case through without opposition.

Thu 2015/04/23


Dear Mrs Buitendag

* With respect to your case no 27401/2015, the following organisations are listed by the South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) in 1998 among those having made submissions strongly opposing the proposals quoted in paragraph 11 of your founding affidavit which you request as relief by the court:

Pro-life South Africa;
The World Federation of Doctors who Respect Human Life; Human Life International South Africa; Dr T Germond; Rev Vivian Harris, Executive Secretary, Methodist Church; United Christian Action; Doctors for Life; ACDP ; Gerda Strauss, North West Region, CANSA; Prof JG Swart, Dr Elizabeth Murray; SA National Consumer Union; Islamic Medical Association of SA; Christian Medical Fellowship of SA; Christian Doctors in SA; Christian Lawyers Association; SA Medical and Dental Council; Hospice Association; SACBC Parliamentary Liaison Office; Covenant Life Church; SA Council of Churches; Free Church in SA; Gereformeerde Kerk in SA; Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk; African Christian Action; Office of the Chief Rabbi; International Fellowship of Christian Churches.

* The above list cited by the SALRC were examples and not comprehensive. There are numerous other organisations that have an interest in the matter, many of which did not exist in 1998.

* I request that you:
– Notify each of these organisations with a short letter summarising the relief sought by your affidavit (i.e. legalisation of assisted suicide).
– Provide each of them with a copy of your affidavit.
– That you notify them both by email and by registered mail.
– Give them reasonable time to consider whether they wish to file as a respondent or amicus.
– Provide proof of notification of each.
– Provide a letter of response i.e that they are aware of the case and will or will not be joining the case.

* As precedent for reasonable response time frames:
– The Promotion of Access to Information Act gives between 21-30 days as reasonable time for each notification and opportunity of parties to respond. Cumulatively the interactive process may result in a longer time frame.
– The National Environmental Management Act 2014 Regulations require 30 day comment period on draft proposals as well as a 20 day appeal period (total 50 days for public response). The NEMA 2010 regulations had 40 days for public and state department comment.
– Parliamentary legislative consultation comment periods are usually 30 days.
It is thus suggested that reasonable notification time to respond should be 30 days.

* Your proposed relief if granted, would have national legislative implications for the rights of all South Africans and particularly the weak (the terminally ill, disabled) and healthcare workers of a nature considerably greater than any Environmental Impact Assessment or Promotion of Access to Information Request.
– It is thus argued that you need to give at least such reasonable notice to relevant parties to make submissions and/or join the case.

* Should you fail provide evidence that you have notified the above parties of your case, and obtain such letters of response, I would argue that that it would be difficult for the court to entertain the proposed urgency of your application as it would then prejudice the rights of the parties that may wish to join the case.

* Please could you acknowledge receipt of this letter.

Yours sincerely,

Philip Rosenthal