The 94 Free State community health workers were convicted in 2015 of ‘an illegal gathering’ after they held a peaceful night vigil outside the health MEC’s office. In November 2016, the High Court lifted their convictions, the court’s judgment sets an important precedent for the right to protest.
In October 2015, Free State community health workers and Treatment Action Campaign Members were convicted of violations of the Regulation of Gatherings Act after they held a peaceful night vigil outside the health MEC’s office. Their vigil was a response to the ongoing crisis in the provincial healthcare system, including then health MEC Benny Malakoane’s arbitrary decision to terminate the contracts of all community healthcare workers in the province.
After many other attempts at engagement failed, the BopheloHouse94 gathered for a vigil at Bophelo House, the head office of the Free State Department of Health, to demand a meeting with the MEC. Police responded by arresting the protesters – many of whom were elderly community health workers.
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The #BopheloHouse94 are featured in the 2017 Champions for the Right to Know Calendar.