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CAPE TOWN - KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said on Wednesday afternoon she had directed the province's acting head of health, Dr. Musa Gumede, to withdraw a circular stating the hiring of foreign doctors had been put on hold.

In the circular, Gumede said the decision to suspend the foreign professionals was taken because the department “has recruited a huge number of South African citizens to be trained as doctors in Cuba” which would have to be accommodated.

But Simelane-Zulu said the matters mentioned in the circular "were not discussed or agreed upon by the sixth administration, and therefore such a decision is not the official position of the department of health."

“My preliminary investigation reveals that during the 2018-2019 financial year, there were discussions taken to bring into stream young unemployed South African doctors.

“As the MEC for health representing this administration, I want to state categorically that there is no banning or suspension of the recruitment of foreign doctors,” she said, adding that the circular should be regarded as null and void.

“It has not been processed through the MEC and the provincial executive. We deeply regret the confusion that has arisen, and the impression created by the dissemination of this outdated circular with outdated decisions."

The department valued the contribution of local and foreign doctors, she said. 

"In light of what has been happening in South Africa, we stand with our African brothers and sisters and support government’s efforts to deal with the situation,” said Simelane-Zulu said. 

South Africa has experienced violence in Johannesburg in recent weeks, mostly directed at Nigerian nationals, which also led to tensions between the two countries. A number of Nigerians have been transported back to their homeland by their government. 

African News Agency (ANA)