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Section 7 of the National Health Act 2003

If there is no advance directive, or an advance directive is not relevant to the current clinical situation, one of the following surrogates may make decisions on the patient’s behalf in the order of precedence listed below :

  • A proxy mandated in writing by the patient to make decisions on his or her behalf.
  • A person authorised by law or a court order.
  • The patient’s spouse or partner
  • Parent
  • Grandparent
  • Adult child
  • Brother or sister

"The World Medical Association, to which the South African Medical Association (SAMA) belongs, adopted the Declaration of Venice on Terminal Illness in 1983. In this declaration doctors are encouraged to recognise the right of patients to make advance directives, such as living wills, to describe their wishes in the event that they are unable to do so.

Sama's guidelines for medical practitioners on living wills says doctors who have "conscientious objections" to withholding treatment should advise you or your family of their views and offer to step aside and transfer your care to another practitioner who will abide by the instructions in your living will."