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'Sipho gave me a medical certificate from a traditional healer. Can I accept it?'

by , 07 November 2014
Our experts get all sorts of questions from employers.

One interesting question they got this week comes from a hysterical employer who says his employee (Sipho) have him a medical certificate from a traditional healer and he wants to know if he should accept it.

Read on to find out the answer so you won't get stumped should you find yourself in a similar situation.


Unfortunately, you can't accept a medical certificate from a traditional healer

 
While many South Africans rely on the use of traditional medicine, our labour laws make it clear that a medical certificate from a traditional healer isn't valid.
 
This means you don't have to accept certificates from traditional healers unless you have a collective agreement which says you will.
 
So what type of medical certificate must you accept?

 
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You can only accept a medical certificate from a registered medical practitioner

 
According to the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management, a medical certificate must be issued and signed by a medical practitioner or any other person certified to diagnose and treat patients. And this person must be registered with a professional council established by an Act of Parliament.
 
A valid medical certificate must include these details:
 
  • The doctor's name, address and qualifications (the doctor's name and details must be clearly legible. He must personally sign the original certificate);
 
  • Patient's (employee's) name;
 
  • Date of examination;
 
  • The doctor's opinion that the patient isn't fit for work (how long the patient is booked off for); and
 
  • If the patient is completely or only partially unable to do his duties.
 
The bottom line: You can't accept a medical certificate from a traditional healer. Make sure your employees are aware of this too.
 
PS: If you have any labour questions just like the above employer, ask our experts at the Labour & HR Club.
 

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