The traditional health practitioners act 22 of 2007: A perspective on some of the statute’s strengths and weaknesses
The Traditional Health Practitioners Act 22 of 2007 was enacted to regulate the traditional health sector in South Africa. With effect from 1 May 2014, a cluster of the Act’s sections became effective by promulgation in the Government Gazette. This development made the majority of the sections of this statute binding after the last proclamation in 2008. The current article discusses the key provisions of the Act and the implications it has for the traditional health sector. After presenting these key provisions and highlighting their strengths and weaknesses, the article relates them to other legislative measures in the form of the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act 28 of 2013 and the Medicines and Related Substances Amendment Bill (B 6-2014). It then argues that the legislative measures introduced thus far fall short of providing a framework necessary for the protection of the traditional health practice. Thereafter, the article discusses the bias of the Act, evident in the more concern shown about the protection of the public against the practices of traditional health practitioners and less concern about the protection of the traditional health practitioners against the hegemony of Western health practitioners and low respect that the former have been accorded. The main argument is that there could have been more balance in the legislative measures effected to bring about justice in the health care system of South Africa.
Keywords: Traditional healing, health, medicine, intellectual property, legislation, South Africa