The National Health Act 61 of 2003 regulates organ donation in South Africa.
Section 62 of the act deals specifically with donating organs of deceased persons.
Section 62 determines as follows:
(a) A person who is competent to make a will may –
(i) in the Will,
(ii) in a document signed by them and at least two competent witnesses; or
(iii) in an oral statement made in the presence of at least two competent witnesses,
donating his or her body or any specified tissue thereof to be used after his or her death, or give consent to the post-mortem examination of his or her body, for any purposes provided for in this act.
(b) a person who makes a donation as contemplated in paragraph (a) must nominate and institution or a person contemplated in section 63 as donee.
(C) if no donee is nominated in terms of paragraph (b), the donation is null and void.
(D) paragraph (b) does not apply in respect of an organ donated for the purposes contemplated in section 61 (1) and the donee of such organ must be determined in terms of section 61 (2).
In the absence of a donation under subsection (1)(a) or of a contrary direction given by a person whilst alive, the spouse, partner, major child, parent, guardian, major brother or major sister of that person, in the specific order mentioned, may, after that person’s death, donate the body or any specific tissue of that person to an institution or a person contemplated in Section 63.
(a) The Director-General may, after the death of a person and if none of the persons contemplated in subsection (2) can be located, donate any specific tissue of that person to an institution or a person contemplated in Section 63.
(b) The Director-General may only donate the specific tissue if all the prescribed steps have been taken to locate the persons contemplated in subsection (2).
o Traditionally, the instruction to donate organs is inserted in a deceased person’s Will.
o In most instances, the Will is at the soonest read days after the deceased’s passing.
o Organs must be harvested as soon as possible after the passing of a deceased for a successful transplant.In most instances within hours of passing,
o We propose that the instruction to donate ones organs are inserted in the Will. In addition, the Testator must also register as an Organ Donor with the Organ Donation Foundation to ensure an expeditious authorization for harvesting. Visit their website at https://odf.org.za/ for further information and registration instructions. Ensure the designated persons referred to in section 62 (2) is informed of the donation.
o Interestingly, Section 61(3) of the Act explicitly excludes the transplant of an organ into a person who is not a South African citizen or a permanent resident of the Republic without the Minister’s authorization in writing.