AFTER struggling with a medical condition and seeing many doctors, Phumzile’s family encouraged her to see a sangoma.
Although a natural part of her culture, Phumzile was unsure about the repercussions she may face for taking sick leave to see a sangoma instead of a medical doctor.
After handing in her sick note, her employer notified her it couldn’t accept the note, as it wasn’t issued by a medical doctor and she’d have to take unpaid leave.
Azikhiphi! That’s not on!
Phumzile sought legal advice.
What does the law say?
In terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, a valid medical certificate must be issued and signed by a medical practitioner, who’s registered with a professional council established by an Act of Parliament.
The Traditional Health Practitioners Act, 22 of 2007 states that traditional healers can issue valid medical certificates if they are registered with the THPC.
A sick note from a sangoma is valid if the following is on it:
- The sangoma’s name, address and qualifications.
- Patient’s name.
- Date and time of examination.
- Description of illness.
- Duration the patient is booked off.
- Sangoma’s signature.
What can Phumzile do?
If Phumzile’s employer refuses to accept her valid sick note and forces her to take unpaid leave, she can go to the Department of Labour if she can’t solve the issue through internal procedures.
If her employer dismisses her, she can go to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) for unfair dismissal.
Who can help?
Phumzile can approach the Labour Department with matters related to remuneration and if she is dismissed. If she suspects a case of unfair labour practice, she can go to the CCMA.
Four things Scorpion can do for Phumzile
- Contact her employer to mediate a possible solution.
- If it’s unfair labour practice, refer the dispute to the CCMA within six months of the event.
- Follow up with the CCMA on the status of the case.
- Assist with possible labour court proceedings.
How to strike back
Phumzile knows her sick note is valid, the sangoma is registered with the THPC.
She has the necessary information to solve the issue with her employer.