Saturday, September 27, 2014

HIV+ soldiers can serve in South Africa

The High Court in Pretoria has ruled that five HIV+ soldiers should not have been dismissed from the South African National Defence Force.
Judge Meyer Joffe ruled that the SANDF’s defence of their own health policy for the second time was "vexatious, frivolous and abusive" and ordered the defence force to pay costs, Section 27 legal advisor Violet Kaseke said on Friday.
Earlier this year, Section 27 and two defence force unions had gone to court arguing that the military continued to make personnel decisions based solely on issues of health status, despite a previous ruling that deemed this unconstitutional.
The issue dates back to 2008 when civil rights groups and defence force unions took the SANDF to court over its then health classification policy, which excluded HIV-positive individuals from recruitment, external deployment and promotion.
That policy was then ruled to be unconstitutional, with the high court maintaining that it "unreasonably and unjustifiably infringed the rights of aspirant and current HIV-positive members".
The issue returned to court this year when the lobby groups, acting on behalf of five applicants, argued that the SANDF was not adhering to its current health policy, implemented in 2009.
Friday’s ruling reaffirms that healthy individuals who are HIV-positive should in no way be discriminated against in any form of employment through blanket restrictions, said Ms Kaseke.

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