Chiropractors, Homeopaths and Allied Professions Amendment Bill: briefing

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Health

21 February 2000
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Meeting report

HEALTH PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE; SOCIAL SERVICES SELECT COMMITTEE: JOINT MEETING
22 February 2000
CHIROPRACTORS, HOMEOPATHS AND ALLIED SERVICE PROFESSIONS AMENDMENT BILL [B2-2000]: BRIEFING

Document handed out:
The Composition of the Current Chiropractors, Homeopaths and Allied Health Service Professions Interim Council of South Africa (attached to end of minutes)

SUMMARY
Chairperson: Ms L Jacobus

The State Legal Advisor said that the amendment is to effect retrospective application of the Bill to make the Interim Council's operation since 22 February 1999 legally binding and to enable it to complete its mandate. This is necessary as there is a presumption against the retrospective application of an Act of Parliament. The retrospective application is not unconstitutional as it does not take away rights of the general public.

MINUTES
Professor R Gumbi, Human Resources Director: Department of Health, presented a briefing on the composition and achievements of the current Chiropractors, Homeopaths and Allied Services Professions Interim Council of South Africa (see Appendix I for a summary of this).
Mr E Daniels, the Chief State Legal Advisor, stated that the term of office of the Interim Council legally terminated on 12 February 1999. However, the Interim Council continued its duties innocently after that date even though the Council legally could not function validly. The proposed amendment seeks to retrospectively continue the Interim Council's term of office with effect from 13 February 1999. This is to enable it to finalise the discharge of its mandate and preparing for the elections of the permanent Council.
An Act of Parliament is presumed not to apply retrospectively unless an express provision to that effect is carried in it. For instance, the Prevention of Organised Crime Act had to go back to Parliament because of the presumption against retrospectivity. The retrospectivity will not take away any vested rights of aggrieved persons. Since it does not adversely affect rights of the general public there is nothing unconstitutional about the amendment.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Ms Rabinowitz (IFP) pointed out that Mr Daniels mentioned that the oversight was innocent; she wanted to know who was legally responsible for ensuring that the Interim Council continued functioning legally.
Mr Daniels stated that he can only answer the question in part; he does not know who was responsible - he thinks the Council should have alerted someone that its legal functioning was coming to an end.
Dr R Rabinowitz wanted clarification on the link between South African Medicines and Medicinal Devices Regulatory Authority (SAMMDRA) and the Interim Council.
Prof Gumbi responded that SAMMDRA lies outside the Interim Council.
Dr S Nkomo, Chairperson of Health Portfolio Committee, indicated that there will in any event be a briefing on the SAMMDRA issue on 29 February 2000.
The Chairperson indicated that all the provinces support the amendment. Copies of the negotiating mandates are to be made available to members.
The Chairperson informed members of the Select Committee that the final voting mandate is needed on 28 February 2000. The Bill will be debated in the NCOP Chamber on 29 February 2000.

Appendix 1:

THE CHIROPRACTORS, HOMEOPATHS AND ALLIED HEALTH SERVICE PROFESSIONS INTERIM COUNCIL OF SOUTH AFRICA
COMPOSITION OF THE CURRENT COUNCIL

1) 3 persons registered or deemed to be registered as chiropractors in terms of this Act, designated by the former Council
2) 3 persons registered or deemed to be registered in terms of this Act as Homeopaths, Naturopaths, Osteopaths or Herbalists, designated by the former Council,
3) "6 other persons"
4) One person appointed on account of his knowledge of the law
5) One person who in the opinion of the Minister has knowledge of tertiary education
6) An officer of the Department of Health
7) A medical practitioner
PROPOSED NEW COUNCIL
a) One person to represent each profession falling under the new council;
b) One person representing the Department of Health;
c) One person appointed on account of his knowledge of the law; and
d) The same number of community representatives as the number of professional boards. (The Council envisages the establishment of 4 professional boards)
ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE INTERIM COUNCIL
· Establishment of the professional liaison committees
- Each profession or group of professions has a liaison committee to liaise between the profession(s) and the Council
- They all met at least five times during 1999
- Encouraged to be representative in terms of race, gender and disability
· Council workshops
- To rework the proposed Bill in line with the recommendations of the Portfolio Committee on Health and the Minister of Health
- To draft the Regulations related to the proposed Bill
· SAQA Activities by the Council
The Registrar is a member of NSBO9 and several meetings have been attended

 

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