The Hon. Mr Narend Singh MP
Chief Whip of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP)
“Honourable Speaker; Honourable President, firstly I think you need to be complimented for having been chosen to co-chair the United Nations’ High Level Commission on Health.
My question, Honourable President, relates to the influence that you will have at the United Nations. One understands that the job of this Commission is to look at employment in the health sector. But I am sure you could use your overall influence, to influence other decisions that are taken at the United Nations. In particular, after about 20 years, a special session was recently held which dealt with prohibitive drug policies, despite a call for humane solutions.
Honourable President, I think you are aware that in 2014 the Honourable Dr Mario Ambrosini stood in this House in response to your debate and made an impassioned plea for the use of alternative medication for palliative care for Cancer patients. In this regard, he mentioned cannabis oil and other products. At the United Nations we find that many western countries and some states in the United States have already legalised the use of cannabis oil and other products that are extracted from cannabis. Yet the United Nations is still backing the prohibition of the use of these drugs.
Honourable President, my question is this: can you give this House an assurance that South Africa will be a leader in medical innovation, and that we will seriously consider the passage of the Medical Innovation Bill which will allow us to use products that will help millions of Cancer sufferers in our country?
I thank you.”
Response by President Jacob Zuma
President of the Republic of South Africa
“Thank you Honourable Speaker; of course the Honourable Member will recall that after the late Honourable Ambrosini’s contribution, I took that matter to the Department [of Health] and it has been looked at by the Department. Certainly if these issues arise, or if this House feels that the matter needs to be raised within the Commission, then certainly we will do so. If the matter is raised in the process of the work of the Commission, certainly we will do our best to make a contribution that must assist those who are in trouble, in terms of Cancer etc. What are the best medicines that are there?
Of course, the issue of the late Honourable Ambrosini is a matter that needs research, and the researchers in our country will certainly empower me as I go to the Commission, on what issues to raise and what needs to be raised at the right time. I will always do so on behalf of the country, there is no doubt about it.
But I have to be guided by medical research and the reports that are there, and the innovation that is being done by South Africa. If yes, then I will certainly raise those issues to influence the situation.
Thank you Madame Speaker.”
Transcribed by IFP Media: Parliament