Health professionals condemn attacks on foreign nationals

Friday, April 17, 2015

Pretoria - The South African Medical Association (SAMA) has added its voice to the widespread condemnation of the violent attacks directed towards foreign nationals.

“The events witnessed over the last few days are not what South Africans and our country is about. We are people that have always demonstrated compassion and caring for our fellow person in the spirit of ubuntu,” said SAMA vice chairperson Dr Mark Sonderup.

Sonderup said many of their doctor colleagues they interact with daily come from the very countries that are being made to feel unwelcome by a deplorable few. 

“These colleagues work in our country and care for our people and sometimes pay a high price. Last year, a foreign doctor working at Khayelitsha Hospital was killed in a robbery after leaving work to go and get some refreshments at a local shop.

“SAMA calls on all leaders, both political and civil, to stand up unequivocally against what is simply not and can never be acceptable. True leadership is called for to deal with the current scourge and to ensure that it never happens again,” said Sonderup.

Echoing these sentiments, the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) said the attacks on foreign nationals is not only embarrassing and shameful for South Africa, but it is totally against what South Africans stand for.

HPCSA warned that these attacks pose a threat to relationships South Africa has with other African countries and therefore poses a threat to the accessibility of quality healthcare to South Africans.

“The knowledge South Africa has in healthcare regulation is knowledge gained and shared through relationships and collaboration with other African countries.

“The HPCSA will continue to harness and foster good relations with other African neighbours, not only for the benefit of the South African economy but for what the true spirit of humanity means and it is what we stand for.”

The council urged South Africans to embrace and support African neighbours at this time.

“We cannot allow such inhumane and barbaric acts to continue. This is a time when we all as South Africans have to embrace the spirit of humanity and empathy.

The HPCSA is a member of the Association of Medical Councils of Africa, an association of African regulatory bodies who share a common aim in protecting the public and guiding health professions in Africa. –