National Traffic Anti-Corruption Unit officers escort a bogus doctor from her premises in Soweto where she allegedly illegally practised and issued medical certificates to unfit drivers wanting to apply for public driving permits. Picture: Matthews Baloyi/ANA
Johannesburg - An alleged fake doctor jumped out of the window of her “surgery” and fled as police conducted a raid at her premises in Soweto on Tuesday morning.

The Congolese woman, who had been operating as a medical doctor for the past 10 years, allegedly issued sick notes, performed abortions and also issued medical certificates to drivers applying for public driving permits (PDPs).

Police later arrested her at a nearby park as she was about to get into a vehicle.

A photojournalist, who requested not to be named, told The Star that he had assisted in apprehending the bogus doctor.

“As we approached the surgery looking for the bogus doctor, we got a tip-off from a guy I know who said the doctor just walked out of the surgery (the identity of the doctor was unknown to the police at the time).

“With my colleague, we followed the doctor, where she later noticed us following her.

“About five minutes later, a Mazda came to pick her up,” he said.

“At that point I thought we had lost her. While I was trying to take a picture of the registration of the car, I saw two plainclothes police officers, and I indicated to them that the doctor was trying to run away,” he added.

The officers quickly apprehended her and walked her back to her surgery while hundreds of enthralled community members watched the drama unfolding.

A cabinet filled with medicines. Picture: Matthews Baloyi/ANA

While police and officials from the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) questioned the doctor, a 65-year-old man, who works as a driver for a Joburg-based bus company, arrived, allegedly to buy a medical certificate to be able to apply for a PDP.

The elderly man, who was oblivious to the arrest of the doctor, entered the premises and was later told that the surgery was closed for the day.

“At my age, this is the last year I am supposed to renew my PDP,” he said.

He added he had come to the same doctor four years ago to get his medical certificate and was only expected to pay R100.

The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), together with law enforcement agents from the National Traffic Anti-Corruption Unit, the Hawks, the HPCSA, the Medicines Control Council and Home Affairs, raided the doctor’s surgery, uncovering hundreds of medications illegally dispensed in the facility, more than R700 in cash, government documents and thousands of patient files.

According to RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane, this arrest was the fifth bogus doctor apprehended in Gauteng in four weeks as part of Operation Recall.

Zwane said: “As part of our Operation Recall, which is targeting all the people who obtained driving licences through illegal means, we raided a doctor who is not registered, and she has been issuing people with medical certificates to qualify to obtain their PDPs.”

At least 32 000 driving permits have been obtained through bogus doctors.

“We have unfit drivers driving taxis, buses and trucks on the roads, which contributes to the high number of accidents that we see in South Africa,” added Zwane.

“The raid was very interesting because as soon as one of our agents came out of the surgery, having obtained the medical certificate, and as the people from the Health Professions Council came to the doctor’s room, the doctor apparently jumped out of the window and tried to flee.

“We had to run around through the streets of Soweto trying to apprehend her,” Zwane told The Star.

This fake doctor would be charged under the Medicines Control Cct and would also be facing fraud charges for operating as a doctor, according to Zwane.

“What is disturbing is that people are continuing with these kinds of illegal activities.

“These people don’t care about the damage and harm they are doing to our society,” he added.

This arrest would be listed under the inspectorate office of the HPCSA, which has confirmed that 38 bogus doctors have been arrested since January this year.

Senior HPCSA manager Eric Mphaphuli said in a statement that “the effect of these illegal practices was the misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment of patients, the performance of dangerous and unnecessary surgical procedures by unskilled persons and damage to the reputation of registered practitioners and professions as a whole”.

The Star