DURBAN - THE Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has called on the public to be wary of bogus doctors who are issuing fraudulent medical certificates for employees who were unable to go to work.
This comes after eight workers and a bogus Zimbabwean doctor were arrested last week after they were found with fake sick notes in Benoni, Gauteng.
The suspects appeared in Benoni Magistrate Court on Friday.
The HPCSA has issued a statement warning the public about the scam.
HPCSA spokesperson Christopher Tsatsawane told the Daily News on Thursday that the body was concerned about these fraudulent activities and felt it should warn the unsuspecting public members to be cautious when visiting doctors, especially when they will need sick notes to produce to the employers as proof of their sickness.
He said during the operation, it was identified that Mr Christopher Kutoka (a Zimbabwean national) was issuing the fraudulent medical certificates to the employees and was caught red-handed at a nearby café issuing the said medical certificates.
Tsatsawane said Kutoka was arrested for fraud and contravening Section 39(1)(a) of the Health Professions Act, 56 of 1974, for issuing medical certificates as a medical practitioner whilst not being registered with the Council.
“We want to warn the public that practising whilst not registered with the HPCSA constitutes a criminal offence in terms of Section 39(2). We call on the public to ensure that the doctor they visit is registered with HPCSA by demanding to see the registration certificate, which must always be displayed on the walls of the said doctor. The certificate always bears a practice number, and people should contact us on 012 338 9300 if they were not sure whether it was genuine or not,” said Tsatsawane.
“During the arrest, Kutoka was found to be in possession of 38 blank medical certificates, a stamp, negative Covid-19 declaration forms and various other fraudulent medical documents under the name of Dr MLA Modisane, adding that it was further established that Kutoka was previously working at the practice of Dr Modisane in Daveyton.”
“One of the arrested employees had previously submitted eight of the fraudulent medical certificates, while seven were arrested for having submitted 31 of the fraudulent medical certificates.”
Tsatsawane said the arrest came as a result of the sting operation of the HPCSA Inspectorate Office in collaboration with the Ekurhuleni East Crime Intelligence and the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police Department (EMPD) Community Liaison Unit.