Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi will head an investigation into allegations of racial profiling against black and Indian private medical practitioners by medical aid companies.
Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi will head an investigation panel into allegations of racial profiling against black and Indian private medical practitioners by medical aid companies.

The panel will probe allegations by members of the National Health Care Professionals Association who claim unfair treatment and that medical aid schemes withhold their claims based on their colour and ethnicity.

Ngcukaitobi, along with advocates Adila Hassim and Kerry Williams, will conduct the investigation independently on behalf of the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS), which will be called a Section 59 Investigation Panel.

The general manager of stakeholder relations at CMS, Grace Khoza, said the council had decided to appoint Ngcukaitobi after a steering committee meeting last week.

She said the council believed and trusted that Ngcukaitobi would give credibility to the investigation, and although he had represented them previously, he would not be influenced by that because the present health matters were of utmost importance.

“He is mainly focused on constitutional law and land law issues. We needed someone like him because of his legal standing and we believe he will be prudent in the investigation process,” she said.

Khoza said that as regulators according to the Medical Schemes Act, the council had the power to institute remedial action if the investigation uncovered any wrong-doing.

The chief executive and registrar of the council, Dr Sipho Kabane, said Ngcukaitobi was a well-respected legal mind who would get to the root of the allegations regarding racial profiling.

He said that as the CMS, their mandate was to protect members of the public and take appropriate steps which it deemed necessary.

Some of the other allegations made by the doctors include blacklisting for payments, blocked payments, demands of confidential clinical information, bullying and harassment, coercion, entrapment and the use of hidden cameras.

The panel will receive written submission from interested parties until June 30.

Thereafter public hearings will be conducted from July to September, and the final report will be delivered to the council on November 1.