Public participation in South African law-making process is essential

South Africa is a participatory democracy and where legislation is passed without facilitating public participation, especially by those members of the public most affected, the law is invalid. The Veterinary Association was successful in having the word ‘veterinarian’ severed from an amendment to the Medicine and Related Substances Act because of lack of consultation regarding a material amendment that would have adversely affected the entire profession. Parliament passed the Medicines and Related Substances Amendment Act, including a requirement that veterinarians be licensed to compound and dispense medicines. This addition to the law was included after the draft amendment act had been published twice in the Gazette for comment. It is a foundational value that government is government by the people and this is enshrined in section 42(3) of our Constitution. All parties interested in legislation should feel they have been given a real opportunity to have…

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