Health Regulations for 2010 World Cup Special Measures Act: briefing by Departments of Sport and Recreation & Health

Sports, Arts and Culture

12 April 2010
Chairperson: Mr B Komphela (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Sport and Recreation, in consultation with the Department of Health, had produced regulations for the admission of medical practitioners, medicines, scheduled substances and medical devices into the country during the World Cup. These would be attached to the Special Measures Act. The regulations specified that such persons and substances would only be permitted into the country on application to the Minister.

Members accepted a recommendation that the wording of the certificate granting permission must specify that such practitioners could only practice within their team. Medicines and devices could also only be used in treating members of the team. Members requested that a provision be included to ensure that practitioners should be in good standing in their country of origin. All devices and unused medicines had to be removed from the country at the end of the tournament. It was stressed that the Special Measures Act would not apply to spectators entering the country. Outside of the team environment, all normal laws would apply. The Act would only be applicable during the tournament, after which all current legislation would be in force.

The Committee accepted the regulations as amended.

Meeting report

 

The Chairperson noted that the delegation from the Department of Health (DoH) had been delayed.

Mr D Lee (DA) noticed the lack of Members of the Portfolio Committee on Health. His colleague from the DA was absent which he suspected was due to poor communication about the meeting. Two Members of the Health Portfolio Committee identified themselves.

Ms G Tseke (ANC) said that the Health Portfolio Committee was concurrently holding its own meeting in preparation for the Department of Health budget vote.

Briefing by Department of Sport and Recreation
Mr Gideon Boshoff, Legal Advisor, Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA), said that the Special Measures Act empowered the Minister to make regulations. This would be done in consultation with the Minister of Health. FIFA had the responsibility for applications being made for medical personnel, medicines and medical devices.

Mr Boshoff said that Regulation 2 stated that applications for the entry of medical personnel were to be accompanied by a copy of the bio-information page of the applicant’s passport, photographs and a proof of that practitioner’s registration in his or her country of origin. Regulation 3 said that the Minister of Health may grant permission for applicants to enter the country after consultation with the Health Council.

Mr Boshoff said that Regulation 4 made provision for Annexure C. Applications for medical personnel to bring in medicines, scheduled substances and medical devices that were not registered in South Africa, were to be made using this form. Regulations 5 and 6 had been deleted as they were repetitions of provisions already in the Special Measures Act.

Mr Boshoff said that public comment had been invited. Advertisements had been placed in six newspapers and a thirty-day period had been available for comment. Only two representations had been made. One was from a Ms H Blumfeld, a pharmacist. She had proposed that visitors should be able to obtain anti-malarial drugs without prescription. However, the Special Measures Act did not deal with tourists and SRSA felt that this input was not relevant. Even though matches would be played in Mbombela, which was in a malaria-affected area, they did not see a need to relax current legislation. This submission could be disregarded.

Mr Boshoff said that the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) had made a representation on the content of Annexures B and C. It suggested that a condition should be attached to the Certificate of Accreditation for medical personnel specifying that their services could only be used to minister to the members of the specified team. Similarly, the certification for the import of medicines and medical devices should also specify that these materials were only to be used for members of the team. SASCOC's suggestions were in harmony with the provisions of the Special Measures Act and it was vital that they be implemented.

Mr Boshoff said that he had consulted with the State Law Advisors and they were satisfied and would certify the amendments after the final input from Parliament had been received. Regulation 4 was a technical amendment. There were two parts to Annexure C so it was necessary to refer to Annexure C Part 1. Regulations 5 and 6 had been deleted. Instead, new Regulations 5 and 6 had been drafted. Regulation 5 now dealt with the approval of medicines, scheduled substances and medical devices. There was a need to specify the approval of these materials. Regulation 6 was a provision that all unused medicines and devices must be taken out of the country when the team departed at the end of the tournament. These regulations could be copied from existing regulations.

Mr Pheleleni Khumalo (Director Legal Services, DoH) said that the contents of Regulation 6 could be specified as a condition of certification. This would then be included in Annexure C Part 2 rather than being a separate regulation.

Discussion
Mr Tshepo Boikanjo, Head: Legal Services, Health Professionals Council of South Africa (HPCSA), said that the current wording of the Special Measures Act and regulations only required that a practitioner be registered in his or her country of origin. There was no inherent requirement that the practitioner should be in good standing. This was a loose end in the regulations and was a matter of concern to the HPCSA.

Mr J McGluwa (ID) wanted some surety on the medical companies. He asked if medicines would be compliant and if the manufacturers were accredited.

Ms Joey Gouws (Director: Inspectorate & Law Enforcement, DoH: Medicines Regulatory Authority) said that medical authorities had to adopt a new kind of thinking. The details of medicines to be brought into the country had to be specified in Annexure C on application. The Council could not determine on the desirability of an application based on the information requested. Information might be insufficient and the nature of the active ingredient and status of the product. Various concoctions would be brought into the country for use by the teams.
 
Mr Lee asked where SASCOC's proposals were accommodated.

Mr Boshoff replied that the proposals were accommodated in the revised Annexures.

The Chairperson felt that the amendments should be written out.
Ms T Sunduza (ANC) asked what the time-lines were. She also asked what the requirements for vaccinations would be.

Mr G MacKenzie (COPE) asked if the words “in good standing” could be included in the requirements for medical personnel rather than drafting a separate regulation. He felt that a separate regulation might be overkill. Such personnel would only be serving the team management and players. This would be the team's own problem if the practitioner was not in good standing.

Mr Boikanjo said that approval for visiting personnel to be accredited would only be granted after consultation with the Medicines Control Council in consultation with their overseas counterparts. When South African medical personnel wanted to practice overseas they had to obtain a Certificate of Good Standing.

The Chairperson said that the Minister's consultation process would set the standard. The Minister should check on the standing of the practitioner before approving the application.

Mr Khumalo proposed that the list of documentation to accompany an application should include a Certificate of Good Standing.

Mr L Suka (ANC) picked up the topic of vaccinations. Certain diseases were endemic to some countries. He asked if there was a contingency plan. Would the lack of such a provision be giving the green light for infected people to enter the country? He asked if the provisions would apply for a specific time.

Ms Gouws said that the Act made provision for the treatment of malaria and the supply of anti-malaria products. The intention of this legislation was not to cover the people coming to watch games. The requirements for vaccinations and the use of anti-malaria tables were well publicised and visitors to the country should scrutinise the regulations. South Africa was more advanced than much of the developing world and there was no need for vaccinations. H1N1 vaccinations would be available.

Mr M Dikgacwi (ANC) asked if there were any contingency plans.

Mr Khumalo said that the regulations attached to the Special Measures Act only applied to medical personnel supplies in support of teams. All South African medical regulations would still apply to the general population. The DoH had established a committee to look into all aspects of medical requirements.

Mr Boikanjo said that Section 2(a) of the Special Measures Act did not specify that a medical practitioner needed to be registered. He asked what would happen if such a person went beyond the scope of serving the team only. No penalties were in place for such a possibility.

Mr Boshoff said this was correct. Government could only legislate on what it was empowered to do. Pronouncing on such a situation would be ultra vires in this case.

Mr Boikanjo said that the legislation had not catered for this possibility. There was a need to look at this.

Mr Suka said that some of the laws had to cut across various spheres. This model had been followed with some of the provisions relating to the police and security.

Mr Khumalo said that any practitioner practising outside the permitted parameters would be treated as a bogus doctor and would be subject to criminal prosecution. This would be specified in the conditions for the granting of accreditation. It would be repetitive to include specific provisions to cover this.

The Chairperson said that no person may practice medicine without approval. The accredited practitioners could only practice within their teams. This was specified in the principal Act. He asked the legal teams if this was sufficient. The regulations were for capturing the finer details.

Mr Boshoff had a different vision. The matter had been dealt with in other legislation. He had interrogated the issue. The State Law Advisors said that if the empowering clauses were not strong enough, then current legislation could be effective.

Mr B Dhlamini (IFP) referred to Section 4 of the Act.

The Chairperson agreed. There could be more clarity.

Mr Khumalo referred the Members to the new Regulation 5. The issue was now covered.

The Chairperson said that the regulations should be in harmony with the Act. There should be conditions attached to the approval of practitioners.

Mr Khumalo said that the conditions were stipulated in Annexure C Parts 1 and 2.

Mr Dhlamini asked how the active ingredient of medicines could be determined.

Ms Gouws asked if South Africa wanted to pronounce on what substances the teams would be using. There could be restrictions if a particular substance was prohibited in South Africa.

The Chairperson emphasised that the country could not be held responsible for whatever substances the teams were using.

Mr Suka asked if there would be any overarching actions. The different arms of government had to speak with a single voice.

The Chairperson said that several parties had been consulted. These were listed in the Bill. These measures were specifically targeted at the sportsmen. The Sports Science Institute had also been consulted.

Mr Khumalo asked if the DoH had undertaken the same kind of impact assessment as had been done with other laws and regulations. The Act allowed for exemptions to be made and there had been no conflicts.
The Chairperson said that the Special Measures Act was a deliberate way of ignoring many of the peripheral issues during the World Cup. It would only be applicable until the end of the tournament after which the normal rules of the land would apply again.

Mr Boshoff said that the minutes would include the inputs made by SASCOC and the requirement for the Certificate of Good Standing.

Adoption of Regulations
The Chairperson said that the Committee needed to make a resolution to accept the regulations as amended. There was no need to come back to approve the regulations at a later date. Mr MacKenzie proposed that the regulations be accepted on behalf of COPE. Mr Dikgacwi seconded on behalf of the ANC.

The Chairperson concluded that the regulations were good.

Committee Programme
The Chairperson led a discussion on the Committee's draft programme for the Second Term. There would be a debate in the National Assembly on 25 May. The eight Portfolio Committees that had responsibilities for the guarantees made to FIFA for the World Cup would present their state of readiness to Parliament. Members had been invited to attend a convention to be hosted by Boxing South Africa (BSA).

Mr Lee noted that the Committee should meet with the Lotteries Distribution Board. This meeting was needed.

The Chairperson agreed. He would consult with the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industries. The Minister of Sport and Recreation should create a committee to deal with applications from this sector rather than having applications from sports bodies adjudicated by Lottery officials. Much was going wrong at present. Each Department felt that it needed to control allocations to organisations within their respective sectors.

He asked that Members confirm their availability to attend the Boxing South Africa convention by the end of the day. He could then request authority for their attendance. SRSA would arrange the transport and accommodation. He pointed out that there would be a clash with the budget vote scheduled for 22 April. He asked members to read the Committee Report on the SRSA budget. A short meeting would be called to adopt this report. This had to be before the debate.


The meeting was adjourned.


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