The Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA), which has been dogged by several complaints, is in for some sweeping changes, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi announced on Thursday.
He made public a scathing report which found that the council was filled with unfit management who violated a string of procedures and failed to provide leadership.
"The team was given 60 days to complete the work but as it is, it ended up taking 6 months due to the load of work. The report they handed to me is actually 90 pages," said Motsoaledi.
An inquiry into the HPCSA, which was set up in 1997 and regulates a wide range of health professionals, including doctors and dentists, was announced in March.
It was led by Professor Bongani Mayosi, who is head of department of medicine at the University of Cape Town, and comprised a team of medical, law, information technology and administration experts probing complaints ranging from allegations of administrative irregularities, poor governance and inefficiency to tender corruption.
All health professionals that want to practice in South Africa are legally obliged to register with the HPCSA and pay fees. It is a legal requirement for health care workers to keep all their personal details up to date with the entity.
However, the council has come under attack for being slow to register health professionals, particularly foreigners.
Motsoaledi said at least 30 unnamed staff members also made submissions to the inquiry. The public was also invited to make submissions to the inquiry.
"The HPCSA is in a state of multi-system organisational dysfunction which is resulting in the failure of the organisation to deliver effectively and efficiently on its primary objects and functions".
He said the HPCSA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) failed to co-operate with ministerial task team. The Chief Operating Officer (COO) also refused to meet task team.
Motsoaledi said the COO has been implicated in acts of unauthorised, irregular and/or fruitless and wasteful expenditure in a matter relating to the ORACLE information communication technology system which remain unresolved.
"The General Manager of Legal Services, who did not cooperate with this investigation, has overseen a dysfunctional system of professional conduct enquiries which has prejudiced practitioners and the public."
He recommended that disciplinary action be instituted against CEO, COO and head of legal services and that the body be unbundled.
"The HPCSA will be releasing an official statement once Council has deliberated on the report," HPCSA Communications Manager Priscilla Sekhonyana told Health24.