Cape Town, February 20, 2014
1. At this outset I wish to thank my Leader,
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi for his support and guidance.
Bill, the Medical innovation Bill, aims at harnessing benefits
flowing from a change in health policy and laws with respect to
the treatment of cancer and other fatal and incurable diseases.
The requested change in policy and law is based on the
following three cornerstones to be brought about by means of a
simple and short legislative amendment along the lines of the
Private Member Bill introduced by Lord Maurice Saatchi in the
British Parliament, to:
a.) allow doctors to administer innovative
unproven, but harmless cancer treatments in cases where other
treatments cannot provide a cure and on the basis of the
patient’s informed consensus, thereby shielding doctors from
both common law liability and medical profession requirements.
b.) allow the Minister of Health to authorize,
establish and resource one or more pilot, innovative cancer
treatment centres where doctors are allowed to act in terms of
c.) decriminalise and liberalise cannabis for
medical treatment and industrial use
3. As it would be
inconceivable and unconstitutional to exclude cancer patients
from the benefits of a future National Health Insurance [“NHI”],
unless alternative cancer treatments are allowed, we will not
have an NHI or the NHI will bankrupt the country.
There is not enough money to pay for all the chemotherapy
which will be prescribed even though the curative or even
ameliorative effects of chemotherapy have been severely
4. On November 20, 2013 the South African
National Working Group presented to the Minister of Welfare and
published its Cannabis Position Paper which recommends the
legalisation of cannabis on the basis of a survey of worldwide
research proving that the cannabinoids present in the resin of
the flowering cannabis plant in their active constituent forms
such as THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD (Cannabidiol), CBG
(Cannabigerol), and CBC (Cannabichromene), are beneficial for
numerous medical purposes, inter alia, having curative and
analgesic effects in cancer treatment, with no harmful side
5. Medical travel for cancer and other
treatments not permitted elsewhere has been a major source of
national income for countries such as Mexico or Thailand.
South Africa is better positioned and equipped to seize
this opportunity on account of both its history with heart
transplants and the good quality and affordable rates of its
doctors and private health facilities. Our country would be
viewed as an innovative world leader in cancer treatment and
cures. This item
ought to be identified and added to the IPAP.
6. South Africa should benefit from the
legalised trade of cannabis which is a product of the future.
Our soils are suited for its industrial production and we
have the required skills.
It is a labour intensive crop.
The Chinese government is making massive investments in
this field as cannabis is a portentous basis for fabrics,
biomass, oils, feeding stock and other products. Additional
economic benefits flowing from the legalisation of cannabis are
evidenced by Colorado, where government expects to collect
nearly 70 million dollars in tax from the legalised and
regulated sale of cannabis.
7. The matter is urgent as hundreds of
thousands are suffering and dying.
Any delay and hesitation by our government to
move forward with this, drips of their blood and tears, our
blood and tears.
8. The newly formed Cancer Treatment Campaign,
represented today by Adv. Stransham-Ford will hold on its intended
constitutional litigation, challenging extant legislation on
cannabis as violating our right to health as well as personal
freedoms and religious liberties.
The country and the suffering people of South Africa do
not need another TAC-type litigation.
9. The Novartis case in the Indian
Constitutional Court is a sign of the growing solidarity between
BRICS members in an attempt to reduce “Big Pharma’s”
stranglehold over the treatment of cancer through patent laws.
The Indian court’s decision to reject the pharmaceutical giant’s
patent claim over its drug Gleevec reflected the principle of
Health over Wealth.
Additionally, The recently introduced IP
Policy Bill in South African Parliament as well as a similar
Bill tabled in the Brazilian Parliament reflects the movement
away from stifling IP laws towards the permissions granted by
TRIPS to provide low-cost generic alternatives.
10. Chemotherapy has been proven to be
statistically harmful and ineffective in 97% of cancer treatment
Approximately 10 million people die every year from cancer.
One person in 2.8 is bound to have cancer in their
lifetime and this figure is rapidly growing. Chemotherapy or
radiation treatments cost a patient, their insurance or
government between US$ 50 000 and 100 000.
The cancer pandemic is the single largest social and
economic cost to industry, to family and to our economy.
Addressing it will give South Africa a worldwide
11. Cancer can be cured.
It is not cured because of bad laws and policies and
maintained and lobbied for by vested economic potentates. This
is a crime against humanity, and indeed, to use Minister
Motsoaledi’s words, genocide.
The US government has knowingly patented cannabis-based
cancer cures which could save millions of lives to prevent their
use in the US and abroad.
12. There is a growing global trend towards
the decriminalisation of cannabis use by private individuals as
well as the recognition of the crop’s potential economic
contribution, especially in a low-tech economy such as South
13. Our jails are overflowing with inmates
held under unconstitutional conditions. The Department of
Correctional Services [“DCS”] is not coping and cannot cope.
It is just a matter of time before constitutional
litigation will force the release of prisoners who cannot be
jailed under the standards demanded by our Constitution. It is
absurd to keep cannabis users in jail in place of murderers and
rapists. South Africa has the ninth largest population of
incarcerated persons in the world and the DCS budget has been
increased by over R 1 billion year on year from 17,7 for
2012/2013 to 18,748 billion for 2013/2014. South Africa leads
the continent with these uncomplimentary figures.
14. For once let us be leaders not followers.
The following countries have decriminalised cannabis and
the extent to which cannabis has been decriminalised in each:
• Argentina: legalised for small amounts and
use in private. Consumption for medical purposes is accepted but
• Australia: decriminalised for small amounts
use in some states.
legalised for small amounts and use in private.
• Brazil: acceptable albeit not technically
decriminalised for small amounts possession.
• Canada: legalised for medicinal and
industrial use through government-issued permit; therefore
possession and sale of cannabis is regulated by the state.
• Czech Republic: legalised for medicinal use
with a government-issued permit.
• India: possession, sale and cultivation is
decriminalised and is regulated by government albeit is
• Iran: Fully legalised if possession, sale
and cultivation is regulated by government, illegal if it is
• Italy: licensed cultivation is strictly
regulated by government; otherwise private use is decriminalised
for small quantities for personal use.
• Jamaica: House of Representatives has
motioned to decriminalise cannabis altogether, otherwise it is
• Mexico: personal use has been decriminalised
but cultivation and sale is illegal.
• Netherlands: completely decriminalised but
tentatively legalised in Amsterdam only.
• Spain: decriminalised personal use.
Completely legalised for personal cultivation on a private
• Switzerland: decriminalised personal use.
Completely legalised for personal cultivation on private
• USA: Illegal at the federal level but legal
at the state level in Colorado and Washington and decriminalized
in 20 other states.
The US AG has given instruction to no longer enforce federal
laws on cannabis use and President Obama has declared that
cannabis for recreation use is no more harmful than alcohol.
• Uruguay: Use, sale, cultivation and
transportation of cannabis is completely legal as of 10/12/2013.
The first country in the world to do so.
Dr Mario Oriani-Ambrosini, MP on
082556 0240 or
Adv. Anthony Mitchell on 0769437106