Traditional Healers Organizationon 23 Sep 2009
Pretoria - Police used pepper-spray on traditional healers when they stormed the health department offices in Pretoria on Thursday in an attempt to force the director general to accept their memorandum.
Traditional healers under the auspices of the Traditional Healers Organisation beat drums, burnt herbs and sprinkled snuff while consulting the gods in preparation to hand over the memorandum.
After a two-hour wait, director general of the department Thami Mseleku arrived, parked his car on the street and under police guard stood on the back of a bakkie to receive the memorandum. National health insurance
Spokesperson for the healers, Phephsile Maseko, said among their concerns was that the proposed national health insurance did not make provision for traditional healers and traditional medicine.
"We want government to recognise traditional medicine as one of the resources of primary healthcare services," she said.
Maseko called on the government to increase funding for programmes aimed at traditional health development.
She said these programmes would be devoted to meet the needs of the 72% of South Africans who used traditional medicine.
The memorandum handed to the department called for the establishment of a traditional health practitioners' council by the end of October.
Maseko explained that the council would reduce the level of fraud associated with traditional healing and end the humiliation levelled at people who consult traditional healers for their healthcare. More employment opportunities
The healers also demanded that the department create employment opportunities for them in hospitals, research fields and general administration posts in the department.
The healers urged government not to regard them as a faith-based organisation.
"This label is racist and must be withdrawn with immediate effect," said Maseko, explaining that the application of traditional medicine was a science.
Mseleku apologised for keeping them waiting and promised to forward the memorandum to Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.
The healers gave the department until October 29 to respond to their demands. After handing over the memorandum, the group dispersed peacefully. - SAPA
THO is an organization of traditional health practitioners and associates who are committed to harnessing, developing and promoting traditional health care practices and systems.
Provide leadership and guidance on matters related to traditional healing and traditional health practitioners.
Facilitate and monitor the training and development of members and their patients.