A political-historical literature review of the statutory impact of the Traditional Health Practitioners Act (No 22, 2007) and the traditional health practitioner on the empowerment of the present and future South African healthcare establishment
The development of South African healthcare in the academic, research and practice fields is phenomenal. This development has always distinguished South African healthcare. At present, there are negative factors that may damage this development, growth and stability in healthcare. One of these factors - possibly the most important one - is the promulgation of the Traditional Health Practitioners Act (22 of 2007) (“the Act"), implemented in February 2013. The Act (a) gives statutory recognition to traditional healers under the general name of traditional health practitioners, with registration of four categories of diviner, herbalist, traditional surgeon and traditional birth attendant, and (b) makes traditional healers full members of the South African health fraternity and sector. The Act stirred up controversy with the first attempts to promulgate it in 2003, primarily because it is a first-world piece of legislation that is being applied to a third-world context of social and spiritual caregivers. In South Africa, this is a group without any conventional, recognized or certified training and education and they are now sanctioned by the South African educational authorities and the various regulated health councils. This move was driven by opportunistic activists, propagandists and politicians, regardless of the criticism against the legislation. It was promulgated without comprehensive research and in-depth consultation about the need for traditional health, the benefits it has for the country's healthcare, the cost of implementing it, the negative effects that it may have on general healthcare and the regulated health professions, or an understanding of the training and skills levels of the present traditional healers. The short- and long-term consequences of the Act, as well as the role of the traditional health practitioners in the South African healthcare establishment, are clearly not well understood and have not been discussed by the public or the regulated health professions. The Interim Traditional Health Council is now, in terms of its mandate described in the Act, busy with the registration of the first group of traditional health practitioners. The negative impact of the Act and of the statutory recognition of traditional healers on South African healthcare professionals can be devastating. There is an urgent need for an in-depth understanding of traditional healthcare and the act itself to offer guidelines for action to safeguard the country's healthcare interests. There are five important matters to consider, namely the modern medical identity of the traditional healer in South Africa; the position that the Act takes compared to the Witchcraft Suppression Act (3 of 1957); the Act's legal standing in the context of the resolutions of the Constitution of the Republic of South African, 1996; the possible impact of the Act as either a godsend or curse on South African healthcare; and if traditional healers have any role to play as health practitioners in the healthcare sector. The research addressed these five matters.
- Humanities 
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The insufficient formulation and vagueness of the definition 'Traditional Health Practitioner' as included in the Traditional Health Practitioners Act (Act No 22, 2007) of South Africa Louw, Gabriel; Duvenhage, André (Australasian Medical Journal, 2016)Background: The main focus of the Traditional Health Practitioners Act No 22 (2007) is the regulation of traditional healing in South Africa. The role player who has to deliver this traditional health service to the public ...
The unwritten new practice rights of the traditional health practitioner as stipulated by the Traditional Health Practitioners Act No 22 (2007) of South Africa Louw, Gabriel; Duvenhage, André (Australasian Medical Journal, 2016)Background:In 2007, a practice directive was issued for the new legal entity traditional health practitioner with the promulgation of the Traditional Health Practitioners Act (No 22 of 2007) in the Republic of South Africa. ...
The traditional health practitioners Act No 22 (2007) of South Africa: its history, resolutions and implementation in perspective (Part 2: Resolutions) Louw, Gabriel; Duvenhage, André (Australasian Medical Journal, 2016)Background: Before the promulgation of the Traditional Health Practitioners Act No 22 (2007), there was no formal guideline or training culture to steer traditional healing in South Africa. Training was and is still mostly ...