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PER: Potchefstroomse Elektroniese Regsblad

versión On-line ISSN 1727-3781


VAN NIEKERK, J. Medical Certificates in terms of the Traditional Health Practitioners Act: The Issue of Validity and Reliability. PER [online]. 2019, vol.22, n.1, pp.1-35. ISSN 1727-3781.

On 1 May 2014, various provisions of the Traditional Health Practitioners Act 22 of 2007, came into effect. This resulted in the establishment of the Interim Council for Traditional Health Practitioners with the accompanying requirement that traditional healers must register with the council in order to practice lawfully in South Africa. Due to this development, a registered traditional healer is now included in the provisions of section 23 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act 75 of 1997 for the purposes of issuing a valid medical certificate. Section 23(2) of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act states that a valid medical certificate for the purposes of sick leave must be issued and signed by a medical practitioner or any other person registered with a professional council and qualified to diagnose and treat patients. This stipulation raises several issues in relation to traditional healers. The requirement is that the person concerned must be qualified to diagnose and treat a person, but whether traditional healers qualify in this context is a bone of contention. It seems that the statutory provisions on the standards of training and the qualifications required for purposes of registration in terms of the Traditional Health Practitioners Act are lacking. This creates doubt about whether only fully-fledged traditional healers are registered in terms of the Traditional Health Practitioners Act and whether a registered traditional healer is competent to make a reliable diagnosis for purposes of sick leave. This means that employers remain uncertain about the reliability of a traditional healer's diagnosis and the incapacity of the employee.

Palabras clave : Traditional healers; medical certificates; Basic Conditions of Employment Act; Traditional Health Practitioners Act; validity; reliability.

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