Women's rights, HIV and maternal health
Access to antiretroviral medication for people living with HIV continued to expand, with two million people on treatment by October. High levels of HIV-infection among pregnant women remained a concern, with KwaZulu-Natal province recording an infection rate of 37.4% among women attending antenatal clinics.
In August, a Ministry of Health-supported report on trends in maternal mortality noted that the deaths of 40.5% of the 4,867 women who died during pregnancy or within 42 days of delivery between 2008 and 2010 were due to non-pregnancy-related infections, in particular HIV. Delays in access to antenatal care and antiretroviral treatment were contributing factors.
Human rights defenders
Harassment of human rights defenders and improper pressure on institutions, including the Office of the Public Protector and senior prosecutors, continued.
- In January, Ayanda Kota, chairperson of the Unemployed People's Movement, was assaulted by police and unlawfully detained at Grahamstown police station. He had gone to the police station voluntarily following a complaint made against him. Charges against him, including of resisting arrest, were later withdrawn.
- In July, an environmental rights activist and survivor of torture, Kevin Kunene, was shot dead 10 days after he and three others lodged a complaint of corruption with the Public Protector against the KwaMbonambi Tribal Authority. No suspects had been brought to trial by the end of the year.
- In October, Social Justice Coalition members Angy Peter and her partner Isaac Mbadu were arrested on a murder charge. Prior to their arrest, they had lodged a complaint against a senior police officer for corruption. Angy Peter was also assisting a judicial Commission of Inquiry, ordered by the Premier of the Western Cape, into alleged service failures by police. They were released from remand custody before the end of the year but continued to experience harassment. In November, the National Commissioner of Police instituted legal proceedings to halt the inquiry.
Amnesty International visits/reports
- Amnesty International delegates visited South Africa in February/March, May/June, August/September and October/November.
- Hidden from view: Community carers and HIV in rural South Africa [photo exhibition] (AFR 53/002/2012)
- Key human rights concerns in South Africa: Amnesty International's submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review, May-June 2012 (AFR 53/003/2012)
- South Africa: Amnesty International encouraged by initial steps to strengthen protections against torture but condemns continued use of excessive force by police and the failure to uphold refugee rights (AFR 53/005/2012)
- South Africa: Shop raids jeopardise safety of refugees (AFR 53/006/2012)
- South Africa: Police arrests are a positive step in the fight against impunity (PRE01/297/2012)
- Landmark ruling confirms South Africa cannot deport people at risk of death penalty (PRE01/369/2012)
- South Africa: Judge must oversee probe into mine protest deaths (PRE01/398/2012)
- South Africa: Marikana Inquiry must be enabled to operate effectively (PRE01/456/2012)