KZN go­ing for black doc­tors

● Big­ger train­ing pro­gramme largely ex­cludes white can­di­dates

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - News - Nico Gous

The KwaZulu-Natal health de­part­ment has ex­panded its reg­is­trar pro­gramme in 2019 from 314 to 414‚ but aims to fill the 100 new posts with only black can­di­dates.

This has been called dis­crim­i­na­tory‚ un­con­sti­tu­tional and racist‚ but the provin­cial health de­part­ment said it was “un­apolo­getic about ad­dress­ing these im­bal­ances of the past”.

“South Africa‚ in­clud­ing KwaZulu-Natal‚ re­mains an un­equal so­ci­ety with lim­ited op­por­tu­ni­ties for self-de­vel­op­ment for those who were his­tor­i­cally op­pressed‚” de­part­ment spokesper­son Ncumisa Ma­funda said.

Ac­cord­ing to leaked de­part­ment com­mu­ni­ca­tion‚ the de­part­ment wants to train 366 black‚ 32 In­dian‚ 12 white and four coloured reg­is­trars to meet em­ploy­ment eq­uity tar­gets.

The reg­is­trar pro­gramme trains doc­tors to be­come spe­cial­ists over four years.

“This means 238 posts must be filled with Africans to take the cur­rent 128 filled posts to the tar­get of 366. This im­plies that the 100 new posts must go to Africans in terms of the tar­gets‚ else if there are no suitable Africans‚ the posts must be read­ver­tised.”

The leaked com­mu­ni­ca­tion said the provin­cial health de­part­ment might de­vi­ate from tar­gets‚ with the nec­es­sary ap­proval‚ if it could not find a can­di­date‚ but “this is not rec­om­mended from the de­part­ment”.

Ma­funda con­firmed the in­ter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

The de­part­ment said on its web­site that doc­tors had to leave reg­is­trar po­si­tions after four years‚ “ir­re­spec­tive if they have com­pleted their ex­am­i­na­tions or not”.

This is to en­sure that the new group of reg­is­trars can be ap­pointed so that the po­ten­tial pool of spe­cial­ists grows.

South African Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion (Sama) KwaZulu-Natal chair Dr Zanele Bik­it­sha said it was pro-trans­for­ma­tion if it did not com­pro­mise ser­vice de­liv­ery.

“A post can’t be kept sim­ply be­cause there are no Africans‚ be­cause that will af­fect ser­vice

Med­i­cal Rights Ad­vo­cacy Net­work mem­ber Mary de Haas said‚ in her per­sonal ca­pac­ity‚ that his­tor­i­cal re­dress was nec­es­sary‚ but the ap­proach was dis­crim­i­na­tory and un­con­sti­tu­tional.

de­liv­ery di­rectly‚” Bik­it­sha said.

“It’s not just sim­ply about fill­ing the num­bers. You need to iden­tify what is the prob­lem‚ what is the cause of African schol­ars not suc­ceed­ing through col­leges.”

Bik­it­sha said there were in­suf­fi­cient grad­u­ates to meet eq­uity re­quire­ments and the ideal would be suf­fi­cient gov­ern­ment fund­ing to train all ap­pli­cants.

“If the DOH (na­tional health de­part­ment) had more fund­ing‚ we would be able to give more posts.”

Bik­it­sha was con­cerned about the num­ber of reg­is­trar posts for spe­cial­ists in on­col­ogy‚ urol­ogy and nu­clear medicine.

“Those are cri­sis ar­eas. Those are de­part­ments that are sup­posed to be re­sus­ci­tated‚ so you need to be wor­ried why are the re­cruit­ment num­bers so low that side.”

Med­i­cal Rights Ad­vo­cacy Net­work mem­ber Mary de Haas said‚ in her per­sonal ca­pac­ity‚ that his­tor­i­cal re­dress was nec­es­sary‚ but the ap­proach was dis­crim­i­na­tory and un­con­sti­tu­tional.

“I think it is a very bad way of do­ing it.”

De Haas blamed the health de­part­ment’s mis­takes for the 2019 tar­gets.

“It [the de­part­ment] spent money send­ing stu­dents to Cuba in­stead of build­ing lo­cal ca­pac­ity‚ which would have sorted this out years ago.”

She said the de­part­ment should choose above-av­er­age stu­dents at post­grad­u­ate level.

“It’s not re­ally fair to side­line peo­ple who have done ex- tremely well.” De Haas be­lieved spend­ing more on train­ing and head­hunt­ing the best med­i­cal per­son­nel to head up new med­i­cal schools was the so­lu­tion.

“If you are train­ing more reg­is­trars‚ you would be able to train more black reg­is­trars with­out dis­crim­i­nat­ing against the other wor­thy ones.”

DA KwaZulu-Natal health spokesper­son Dr Im­ran Keeka said a pol­icy which “causes the dom­i­na­tion of one race over the other by ex­clu­sion is noth­ing more than an aber­ra­tion of our con­sti­tu­tional val­ues and is racist”.

“Any form or at­tempt to re­dress the in­jus­tices of the past must en­sure that we re­main com­mit­ted to what our con­sti­tu­tion says. There must be no ex­clu­sion‚ es­pe­cially based on the colour of our skin.”

He said the DA would con­sider su­ing the provin­cial de­part­ment if it de­vi­ated from these rights. –

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