The Economic Freedom Fighter who has been known for fighting for justice has put pressure on the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) to take action against a surgeon accused of negligence by a number of families.

Recall that Dr Peter Beale, a paediatric surgeon, was suspended by Netcare following the death of 10-year-old Zayyaan Sayed. Zayyaan underwent a routine procedure with Beale at Park Lane Clinic in Johannesburg earlier this month. He died post-surgery. The Sayed family accused Beale and operating anaesthetist Dr Abdulhay Munshi of negligence after their son died. The two were suspended from Netcare facilities last week pending an investigation into the boy’s death.

EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee, in a  letter penned to HPCSA, the party sent a stern warning to the council, pressuring them to suspend Beale pending an investigation into his fitness to practice. Furthermore, the secretary general listed the names of six children who allegedly died under the Beale’s knife, saying it was “disturbing” that the HPCSA had not yet suspended him. He also said If no action was taken, the HPCSA would be complicit in the “deaths and maiming of children” and it would be a “a serious dereliction of [its] duties as an oversight body”.

While speaking to the media, Gardee said “The Economic Freedom Fighters get involved in quite a lot of matters in the public interest, and in the public interest we cannot have a medical practitioner who is accused of medical negligence [and] medical misconduct that led to quite a number of children [allegedly] dying on his operating table. It is up to the [HPCSA] to evaluate our complaint, decide whether there is prima facie evidence and … convene the doctor to come before its competence panel for an interview to explain his or herself of such allegations.”

On the contrary, Jeanne Albertse, Beale’s legal counsel said he had not received any communication from the HPCSA regarding processes to suspend him. He said “Prof Beale has been notified by neither the EFF nor the registrar of the Health Professions Council of South Africa of the initiation of proceedings in terms of the above provisions of the Health Professions Act, 1974 [or any other provisions of that act and the regulations published in terms of it] to suspend him from performing his professional practice. Irrespective of the identity of the alleged complainant, the Health Professions Council of South Africa and its functionaries are enjoined to comply with the provisions of the Health Professions Act and constitutional imperatives underlying the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, 2000.

 Albertse further said “In the event of Prof Beale receiving proper notice of lawful proceedings to suspend him from performing his professional practice as a paediatric surgeon, he shall respond appropriately.”