KwaZulu-Natal - The Traditional Healers’ Organisation says the government is to blame for the continued sidelining of traditional healers because it is dragging its feet in setting up a regulatory council as required by law.
Although the Traditional Health Practitioners Act came into existence in 2008 they are still not officially recognised by business because the health department has not established an interim council to provide for a regulatory framework to ensure the efficacy, safety and quality of traditional health care services, as stipulated in the act.
Phephisile Maseko, the national co-ordinator of the Traditional Healers’ Organisation, said by not acting on the requirement, the government had disregarded its own laws.
The Joburg-based Traditional Healers’ Organisation claims it has 78 000 members mainly from KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and Gauteng, of whom 70 percent were women, she said.
The status of traditional healers was in the spotlight last week when the Labour Appeal Court ruled that a sick note obtained from a traditional healer was admissible.
It came after a woman, who was refused unpaid leave, took time off from work anyway. She gave her employer a sick note from a traditional healer and was fired.
She took the matter to the CCMA which ruled she should be reinstated. Her employer appealed, but the Labour Appeal Court ruled in her favour.
The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa welcomed the ruling yesterday, saying it moved closer to what the congress had been calling for in terms of the recognition of institutions of traditional structures.
Spokesman Zolani Mkhiva said: “It begins to mainstream that which is really African.” The next step was to ensure such practices were recognised and co-ordinated so the profession could be protected from false healers just out to make money.
The Health Department’s Joe Maila said on Monday they aimed to have the council up and running by the end of 2012. - The Mercury