HPCSA 'playing games' with Noakes - lawyer

2016-02-08 14:21
Tim Noakes leaves his HPCSA hearing. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Tim Noakes leaves his HPCSA hearing. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town – Professor Tim Noakes's legal team has accused the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) of playing "fast and loose" with his rights.

"They are playing games with Professor Noakes's rights, constantly changing the position, leading us up one path and then alleging it's the wrong path," his lawyer Michael van der Nest said at his hearing on Monday.

This criticism came after it emerged at the hearing that they could be forced to approach a high court to get answers on why he was charged.

Van der Nest listed their failed attempts at getting reasons why a preliminary committee of inquiry decided to charge Noakes with unprofessional conduct.

He believed the preliminary committee had unduly involved itself in trying to find witnesses to testify against his client.

Noakes - whose book The Real Meal Revolution promotes a low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) lifestyle - was called before the council after a complaint was lodged by the former president of the Association for Dietetics in SA, Claire Julsing-Strydom.

The complaint centred on a tweet from Noakes to a mother who asked what foods she should feed her baby.

Noakes advised the mother to wean her child onto LCHF foods, which he described as real foods.

The tweet read: "Baby doesn't eat the dairy and cauliflower. Just very healthy high fat breast milk. Key is to ween [sic] baby onto LCHF."

Van der Nest said the HPCSA registrar had refused to answer their questions about the charge.

The registrar told him that the professional conduct committee was empowered to rule on this issue. He subsequently asked chairperson Joan Adams to make a ruling on Monday.

In response, the lawyer for the pro-forma complainant said that Noakes was entitled to these reasons, but that the appropriate forum was the high court.

"Nowhere in those regulations does it empower this committee to order the preliminary committee to divulge any of its deliberations or any of the decisions it has taken," said advocate Ajay Bhoopchand.

Van der Nest said the suggestion of approaching a court was "not only grossly unfair, but also surprising".

Adams postponed the hearing for deliberations until Tuesday morning.

Read more on:    hpcsa  |  tim noakes  |  cape town  |  health

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