Cape Town - Professor Tim Noakes must wait until November to present his case on a unprofessional conduct charge, after advising a mother via Twitter to wean her child on low-carbohydrate, high-fat foods.
The Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) hearing in Cape Town was initially set down for Thursday and Friday, but it became clear on Thursday morning that it would not be wrapped up in time after Noakes's legal team raised a number of issues.
The HPCSA has charged him with unprofessional conduct, alleging he acted in a manner not in accordance with the norms and standards of the profession, by providing “unconventional advice on breastfeeding babies”.
Noakes, who is an advocate of the Banting diet, seemed in good spirits on Thursday and flashed a smile every now and then.
His lawyer, Advocate Michael van der Nest, argued that the professional conduct committee was not properly constituted.
He said it was also problematic that it had come to light that panel member Professor Renee Blaauw had also been a member of the Association for Dietetics in SA (ADSA), which brought the complaint against his client.
The lawyer added that they did not agree to a ruling that the committee was entitled to have a dietician on the panel and a possible remedy was to review or appeal the decision to appoint Blaauw.
HPCSA prosecutor Meshack Mapholisa argued the committee was properly constituted and that the hearing should take place as soon as possible.
Committee chairperson Advocate Joan Adams said it was problematic that there was not a third person on the committee registered with the Medical and Dental Professions Board and in the same discipline as Noakes.
“In terms of law, we are not properly constituted. At this stage, we cannot proceed,” she said.
The hearing was postponed until November 23 so the Board chairperson could appoint the additional panel member.
Adams warned both parties to bring heads of argument beforehand should they wish to bring an application on that day.