Appointment of Dr Joe Phaahla as Minister of Health and the suspension of the HPCSA Registrar, Dr David Motau

The South African Medical Association Trade Union (SAMATU) welcomes the appointment of Dr Phaahla as the Minister of the Department of Health. We hope that the department would be stabilised and be able to execute its mandate and deliver the much needed healthcare services to all South Africans, especially the most vulnerable. The current pandemic requires all hands on deck and SAMATU is ready to work collaboratively with the office of the new Minister.

The National Department of health is at the centre of the health system and therefore cannot afford to be incapacitated. SAMATU aims to solidify its relations and pledges full support to the Minister’s office.

We further note the precautionary suspension of the Registrar / CEO, Dr Motau of the Health Professions Council of South Africa as pronounced by the then Acting Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi. The full functioning of the regulator and its stability is indeed a cause for concern for SAMATU; noting that for the past 18 months the regulator has been managed on an acting basis.

This instability is also associated with several challenges including but not limited to:

1. Increase in statutory fees without consultation
2. Delay in finalising registration of doctors
3. High costs of operating the council
4. High costs of instituting charges against doctors
5. Delay in resolving cases

The effective functioning of the regulator is of critical importance. It is therefore our plea with the new Minister to prioritise the full functioning and stability of the regulator; and ensure that the current challenges receive desirable attention.

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Mr Bokang Motlhaga
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