As it happened: Noakes hearing postponed to November

2015-06-04 09:12

Tim Noakes HPCSA hearing has been postponed to November 23 this year.


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Last Updated at 08:24
04 Jun 15:48
So that's it for the proceedings today. And so too for these updates. We'll be back when the hearings begin in November.

04 Jun 15:37

Chair: If I don’t receive anything by that day, I assume there will be no applications. I would also suggest that in my report back to council, that notice be given timeously to all parties to the appointment of that member so you have time to prepare.  

Officially adjourned until November 23.

04 Jun 15:36
Chair: If somebody is going to bring an application that day could we agree, to save time and costs, to bring heads of argument beforehand so we don’t come here and spend two days on possible applications.

04 Jun 15:26

After much back and forth between the parties, involving serious swishes of diary pages and cellphone calendars, they have agreed on dates on which they are all available.  

Chair: We have dates: 23rd November- 1st December 2015, same venue unless HPCSA gives notice of another venue. Is the onus on me to request the coordinator that we need an additional member? I don’t want to go any further than conveying. Are you both happy with that? I am not otherwise suggesting names.  

Both parties happy.

04 Jun 15:11
Committee briefly goes “off the record” so all parties can consult their diaries for availability.

04 Jun 15:01

Chair asks prosecutor whether he wants to respond to the committee not being properly constituted. Mapholisa replies that he stands by his previous submission that the committee is properly constituted.

“Perhaps to alleviate the fears of the respondent, the ruling that has been made to say that an additional member that is registered in the same profession as the respondent… that I fully support.”  

Chair asks him how long he thinks it would take to appoint the additional member?  

Prosecutor says: Given the availability of technology, this can be done overnight if my learned friend is amenable or willing to accept the proposal. There are already allegations against the pro forma complainant. I will not go into those.

Prosecutor: I would be willing to waive the seven day requirement for the appointment. I would suggest that we stand the matter down so the respondent can go back to the drawing board. Then we come back tomorrow and get a ruling so we know where we are going.

04 Jun 14:56

Prosecutor: “Once this committee has taken a decision, that decision is binding to both parties. I suppose that my learned friend knows exactly what options he has when he is aggrieved by a ruling or a decision that was taken by the honourable committee. My learned friend has only got one option to follow, which he has amongst others, mentioned to say that they may consider taking this matter on appeal.

"If my learned friend feels that he has take proper instructions, he could ask the honourable committee to stand down this matter until tomorrow so at least from now on until tomorrow at 10:00... then he has clear instructions as to what options he wishes to follow.

"If we postpone this matter, for instance, to August this year, for the respondent to re-consider his position regarding whether he wants to take this matter on review, then that would be a completely futile exercise since that decision can be taken now…”  

He mentions this because he's not available according, his diary shows, for the next few months until August. It would definitely be a futile exercise if we postpone to that period.

04 Jun 14:34

Committee is waiting patiently for Noakes and his team to come back into the room. Prosecutor Mapholisa is also absent, says News24's Jenna Etheridge.  

On a side note, she writes, the snacks presented outside the conference room during tea time included pastries, brownies and sandwiches, followed up with fried savoury eats.

The full lunch presented to the parties in the dining room included a variety of foods, including vegetables and salad items...

04 Jun 14:23

The chair suggests an adjournment until tomorrow morning for this purpose. She asks how the parties feel about this.  

Prosecutor Mapholisa: All pro forma complainant’s witnesses are present and ready to proceed. I am quite ready if any additional member can be appointed into the current honourable professional conduct committee so we can proceed.  

Van der Nest responds by saying he needs to consider the decision. Asks for five to 10 minutes adjournment to consider their position.

04 Jun 14:17

Joan Adams: "We have one member of the board. This committee has no powers to deviate from Act and regulations.

"There can’t be any condoning. During the adjournment, of course and as requested… I have been informed in front of all other committee members that Dr Salujee is in fact registered with medical and dental professions board.

"He has also shown me his HPCSA  card and it says his speciality is paediatrician. 

"Be that as it may there is no reason, there is no suggestion that he does not comply with a regulation. There is a problem in the sense that there is not a third person on this committee registered with the medical and dental professions board and in the same discipline as the respondent.  

"We are lacking in one committee member. In terms of the Act and regulations, the responsibility rests solely on the chairperson of the medical and dental professions board. While we had the adjournment, and considering the history of this matter… I took the liberty of asking any committee members if there was anything we should declare or anything which should be aired in light of fairness, justice and transparency.

"I would like to place the following on record: Prof Blaauw has indicated absolute objectivity. In 2014, she was co-supervisor for student enrolled in diploma of advanced ethicsc, which entailed that she used the media implications of Tim Noakes as a case study.  

In terms of law, we are not properly constituted. At this stage, we cannot proceed. We postpone for those purposes. I doubt very much whether this paperwork and red tape will be complied with this afternoon."

04 Jun 14:13

04 Jun 14:12

News24 user William Potgieter writes: "I started banting in February 2014. I lost all my excess weight, and could (with the help of my doctor) go off all the medication I was on.  

"I believe the dietitians know that Tim Noaks is right, but they don't want to admit they were wrong for the last 30 years." 

04 Jun 14:06

04 Jun 13:16

One user, Jessica, suggests some caution with banting: " I think the diet has place and is suitable for certain people i.e. low cholesterol, etc, but I think before anyone does the diet they should get their cholesterol checked.

"I think that people who want to change the South African dietary guidelines need to take into consideration that more than half the people in SA can only afford simple carbs [such as] maize and bread because those are the staple foods and not everyone can afford to buy so much meat.

"I also think that this diet is a fad because not many people are reading the facts about the diet they are seeing that 'oh she lost 10kg on the banting diet, let me try it' and not actually understanding it before they do it."

04 Jun 12:58
We've corrected an error that was in updates: No names of advocates or positions of people speaking was given to the media before proceedings began. So the person we thought was the ADSA's lawyer was, in fact, the HPCSA's Adv Meshack Mapholisa. Apologies for the error and resulting confusion.

04 Jun 12:14
Officially adjourned until 14:00 to allow committee to deliberate.

04 Jun 12:14

04 Jun 12:09

How will the 'Tim Noakes' diet affect your immunity?

According to Cape Town-based dietician Kim Hofmann, there are some benefits to be found in low-carbohydrate eating; as long as it’s low-carb and not no-carb.

“Carbohydrates are your unit of immediate 'energy food'.  They control blood sugar levels and keep them stable, which is an important part of health.

"We (dietitians in SA) have always recommended a controlled carbohydrate intake with a limited intake of simple, low fibre, sugar carbohydrates. South Africans in general do follow a diet too high in carbohydrates, but cutting out complex, high fibre, healthier carbohydrates is not the best for your health,” she explains.

04 Jun 12:06

News24 user, Henni says: " I started Banting in January 2014 – at the time I weighed in the region of 190kg. I am currently down to 105kg. That is 85kg in 16 months.

"I run 10km every day, not because I feel that I have to, but because I have so much energy that I CANNOT sit still anymore.  

"LCHF changed my life completely. It is absurd that Noakes is being vilified. He has given me and many like me a new lease on life."

04 Jun 12:00

“We can ask you for a decision on how you consider your own composition as a committee and may we ask you for a factual point of view, ask members of the committee what they are registered as.”  

Chair says: I never know beforehand or decide who to appoint. Don’t know how anyone is registered.  

Van der Nest: We are definitely not suggesting that you should know.  

Chair: “We are going to adjourn and going in camera. No recording, no bugs please (laughter). We are going to need some time. Suggest we adjourn again at 14:00.”

04 Jun 11:53
Van der Nest flashes Noakes’s HPCSA member card in front of the committee. Says Noakes is registered as a GP and that a professor on the panel who has been stated by the complainant as being in the same profession, will have ‘paediatrician’ on his card. This is not the same as a GP.

04 Jun 11:46

Van der Nest (Noakes's lawyer) says regulations state that panel must consist of three board members or members of the relevant profession. He must be tried by members of the medical and dental profession, not others.

“His (the complainant) role is to prosecute the case and to bring whatever expertise he wishes to harness… to persuade the committee, his peers and the public, that he is correct.”  

He explains various definitions of terms in the act and regulations. If you are being tried by your own professional board, you should be faced with GPs hearing your case and members of the public, to judge you as a GP.

“A relevant profession can never be a dietician because a dietician is not registered under medical and dental board. That person could never qualify under the act as a relevant profession.”

04 Jun 11:35

Chair: “I don’t see that the act or regulations have any problem with experts on the committee. If one needed an expert in a specific field, committee would be entitled to have someone like that appointed, do you agree with me?”

HPCSA advocate Mapholisa agrees.

Chair: Regulations say that panel can have as many experts as it wants. Complainant’s lawyer agrees again. Says that in a court of law, it is the same. If judge is faced with technical issue that requires expertise, an expert can be appointed as an assessor to assist the judge to come to a fair conclusion.

Chair: “So if this case calls for nutrition expertise… we are quite empowered to do so?”  

Three people registered at medical and dental professions board. We have two. And then we have Prof Blaauw with necessary expertise for nutrition and diets. Correct? Lawyer says that is correct.

04 Jun 11:26

Committee chair says that she was copied in on request from respondent for Prof Viljoen to recuse herself. She acknowledged its receipt and also received a subsequent letter yesterday regarding Viljoen’s replacement.

Chair said she only engaged on the correspondence regarding practicality of the matter, not consideration of the merits of the case. Mapholisa said he was not suggesting any bias or anything against any committee member. He just wanted to place concern on record that the committee chair should not have been contacted before the hearing.

04 Jun 11:16

The respondent has never raised that particular issue from May 30 until yesterday [Tuesday].

“Only yesterday, late in the afternoon, did we learn that the respondent was going to object to Prof Blaauw participating in these proceedings.”

If respondent had raised this on May 30, this situation could have been avoided and we would not have to be debating it now. But he is leaving it in the hands of the committee.

04 Jun 11:12

News24 user, Melissa says: " I’ve been following the lifestyle for over a year, and the only negative side effect I can see, is on my budget.  I can’t afford to buy new clothes all the time, as my body shrinks. 

"On the other hand, my health has been so much better, that new clothes are a small price to pay. My sugar and cholesterol readings are normal.  I have more energy. 

"I can concentrate for longer periods of time.  I don’t get that mid-afternoon slump.  I feel younger, because the aches and pains I used to experience in muscles and joints are gone. 

"Ultimately, whatever the Big Business Funded commission decides,  I will continue as I have been. I just hope the commission has the good sense not to destroy the career of a man who has changed the lives of so many people for the better.  Tim Noakes is my hero."

04 Jun 11:11

Arguments over the composition of the panel are still continuing. Mapholisa continues: "If we go with strict interpretation of section 15 of the act, it will mean that the current panel is also not compliant.

"This provision relates to at least three members and here we only have one."

Chair responds by saying there is an “OR” in that provision, “or members of the relevant profession”. He concedes that there are members of the relevant profession here today.

04 Jun 11:09
Mapholisa submits again that the person who will be appointed to participate as a panel member on the committee should have knowledge, experience and qualifications regarding diet issues. All the parties are still arguing whether the committee is properly comprised, referring to the Health Professions Act.

04 Jun 11:00

The chair of the conduct committee has responded, saying: " It is a bit of a wild statement to say he is practicing outside his scope, is it not? Chair of committee asks complainant’s lawyer.  

Chair of committee asks: "Isn’t it a question of a medical practictioner having a special interest and thus writing books? I am hesistant to use 'outside his scope'.

Mapholisa responds: "It is true that he has not been charged with acting outside of his practice. But in 2011, there were amendments to the Act regarding scope, after a huge public outcry regarding plastic surgeons as an example.

“People who were GPs and had an interest in public surgery, would go on a course for a week or two. When the person comes back, he advertises himself as a public surgeon and starts conducting himself as such. Whereby, patients were literally in fact, I would use a strong term, assaulted, by these practitioners because they didn’t have the skills and experience..."

04 Jun 10:58

Mapholisa continues: "I would propose however an additional member, who is the seventh member of this panel, should be appointed. This particular member must still be a dietician who can give guidance and advise.   Thus NOakes’ application must be dismissed. If not, the committee it can uphold the request but then give an order that since this matter revolves around a diet, there has to be an extra member who is a dietician."

04 Jun 10:57

Another News24 user, Sam, has a less positive story to tell about LCHF: "After two months of banting I developed an irritated stomach lining and landed in the emergency room.

"I'm not saying it doesn't work - it's just not a good diet for me."

04 Jun 10:51

Mapholisa continues: “The point raised by my learned friend to say that prof Blaauw should recuse… that contention madam chair would be, I would say, not in the interest of justice.

"If we replace the professor with a GP, for instance, who is going to assist this committee to reach a fair decision after all the evidence has been considered, especially when technical issues of diet are raised by experts.   “If this honourable committee succumbs to what my learned friend has submitted… it would be the same situation where a blind person leads the blind!”  

“None of the committee members have knowledge about diet issues. Furthermore madam chair, I would submit that Prof Noakes purports himself as a dietician and he has written books on the issues of diet, even when he is a GP, acting literally out of his practice as a GP and dwelling into diet issues. When the dietician society gets aggrieved by this particular conduct of prof Noakes, then he cries foul to say that dieticians cannot in fact make judgement calls on him.”

04 Jun 10:50
Need more banting recipes? Food24 has you sorted.

04 Jun 10:42
Mapholisa continues: “When the committee received the complaint… The committee deemed it fit to request the expert opinion of a dietician to give it advice. Amongst all the members which are appointed, none of them had knowledge, experience and qualifications to comment on diet issues.”

04 Jun 10:42

Another News24 user, Peter, tells of how the diet has worked for him and his family: " Our whole family have benefited from eating more fat and less carbohydrates. Children have better concentration and we as parents have lost weight and have more energy.  

"It's disingenuous to say LCHF  is as healthy as a balanced diet, its clear to me that eating this way (LCHF) has tremendous benefits for all age groups.  

"It doesn't have to be that expensive either, if you plan your meals, using rendered fat from fatty cuts of meat to add to later meals and other methods, it is possible to eat for less.

"Fat will fill your appetite so your portions will decrease and will need less snacks between meals. Glad this debate is in the public domain, there could be some resolution  ."

04 Jun 10:38
Now hearing submission from lawyer for HPCSA, Adv Meshack Mapholisa: I would submit this committee is properly constituted because one of the committee members is registered with the same board and in the same discipline. Another professor on the committee, who is a specialist, is still registered as a GP. Because he acquired extra qualifications which made him a specialist, that does not preclude him from still being regarded as being registered in the same discipline as Noakes.

04 Jun 10:33

This is from News24 user Alan Gernet: "My feedback is that I have battled for years with weight and health, eating according to the (now debunked) Dietary Guidelines.  

"I have Banted for 11 months, lost all excess weight, gone off a long list of medications, and am in the best health that I can remember in my life.  I eat REAL wholefoods now, avoid the bad carbs, and make a point of eating lots of different types of healthy fat.  The lifestyle is easy, and healthy .. unlike what ‘normal’ modern day eating is.  

"I believe that politicians and the ‘beneficiaries’ in the food industry,  one-sided medical research (funded by the industry that stands to benefit at the expense of health),  out of date dieticians and doctors, and doctors who benefit from pharmaceutical companies and sick patients have a lot to answer for!!

"The hearing should start there in an ideal world. Sadly, too many people benefit from selling drugs and having sick people.   No matter what the outcome of the trumped up hearing, I will Bant for the rest of my life. The LCHF enlightenment is growing rapidly throughout the world, and I have yet to come across any credible evidence that disproves it to my mind. Certainly – the world epidemics of cancer and diabetes show that we have been taught the wrong stuff for years. More News24 users say the real meal revolution is for them."

04 Jun 10:30

When we wrote the letter last night, we asked for you to appoint someone who is in the same discipline as he, says Noakes's lawyer. We asked for an urgent response and none was forthcoming.

Van der Nest asked by the head of the committee why he is has raised this issue at such a late stage. He replies that they responded as soon as they could and that this issue of a member needing to be in the same discipline as Noakes, only arose recently.

04 Jun 10:24

If you are on the LCHF eating plan and not seeing results, you could be making one of five common mistakes, one of which is not planning ahead.

04 Jun 10:22
At the hearing now there's a problem with two persons registered with the professional medical and dental board. At least one of whom must be registered in the same discipline as Noakes (who is a GP). "Therein lies the difficulty". One of the professors is not in the same discipline as he is. "That means the committee is not comprised in accordance with the regulation"

04 Jun 10:21

Prof Tim Noakes might be a scientist, but the Banting Diet is based on bad scientific reasoning, argues Health24's Carine Visagie.

"Noakes’s theories have added a lot of dogmatic noise to a world that’s already confused about dieting and healthy eating. And, yes, many of what’s written in his book and said in media interviews are theories rather than known fact, and need to be assessed according to all the evidence available," she writes.

04 Jun 10:19
Four requirements for the way the committee is constituted: 1) two public representatives (not part of any professional boards). That requirement has been fulfilled. One legal assessor must be there and that has been complied with.

04 Jun 10:18

Michael van der Nest, SC, from Johannesburg, is representing Noakes. Van der Nest raises letter sent to committee members yesterday. Starts giving background of the case.

We pointed out to pro forma prosecutor and to committee that there was a problem with Professor Viljoen being on committee due to his views. Asked him to recuse himself and he did. Replaced with another professor.

Says committee as it currently sits is not compliant and in breach with health legislation. Regulation six: chairperson of professional board, must appoint a professional conduct committee at least seven days before hearing.

04 Jun 10:12
The conference room at Southern Sun is packed with media and members of the public, says Jenna Etheridge. Three rows of chairs provided and all full. The room is stuffy and hot. Three cameras set up.

04 Jun 10:11
These are the charges that Noakes's is facing.

04 Jun 10:09
Noakes at the hearing. Photo by News24's Jenna Etheridge.

04 Jun 10:03
Tim Noakes is here [at the hearing] and seems to be in good spirits. Smiling at times, says News24 reporter Jenna Etheridge.

04 Jun 10:00
Jonno Proudfoot is a co-author of The Real Meal Revolution.

04 Jun 09:54

Professor Tim Noakes has changed the status of dairy products from "all-you-can-eat" to eat "with caution" after dieters complained that they weren't losing weight quickly enough, the Sunday Times reported.

Noakes admitted that cream and yoghurt had been "quietly removed" from the green list on the Real Meal Revolution website, the weekly said.

So does that mean this milk tart is a no-go?

04 Jun 09:47

Many dieticians have spoken of what they believe are the flaws in banting.

""A low carbohydrate, high fat diet as promoted by Professor Tim Noakes is not always easy to prepare in a way that is acceptable to infants and children," says Kerryn Gibson, a dietician specialising in paediatric nutrition.

She told Health24 that the process of weaning involves the introduction of new tastes and textures to an infant's diet.

"Weaning is also a way for infants to learn how to eat. The texture of weaning foods is extremely important to get right in order for the foods to be accepted and easily swallowed by infants. This factor often determines the type of food used."

According to Noakes, in order to maximise your infant's future prospects you need to maximise the brain growth during their first two years. "You can’t do that with a high carbohydrate, cereal-based diet lacking in the real foods promoted by the LCHF/Banting diet promoted in the Real Meal Revolution," he told Health24.

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