|Monday, 31 August 2009 09:17|
President's message-March 2013
The statement made by our president, the Honourable Mr Jacob Zuma during December 2012 regarding dog ownership and African people, and the recent debacle around the unsatisfactory labelling of meat products in our country, created much media attention and stimulated debates within and outside our profession. Some of us were probably on holiday in December 2012 when the president's speech created much media and social media coverage. We may have also been caught off guard with the media reports on the findings of horse/donkey/ pork meat present in meat sold as beef and not adequately labelled.
I am convinced that following the two incidents, most of our members had to individually deal with a barrage of questions from stakeholders, clients and members of the public. The Council wrote a letter to the president (included in this newsletter on page 17).
My personal analysis is that:
• We still have a huge challenge to convince politicians, irrespective of alignment, about the role of the veterinary professions in the country. Therefore, the new leadership of the SAVC elected and designated by the end of July 2013, together with the various associations, will have to specifically focus on strategies to change these perceptions. We, the veterinary profession need to claim our space at all possible key events in the country where important decision makers will attend so as to use the opportunities to raise veterinary matters;
• Even though we may argue that the safety and quality of animal products from farm-to-fork are not our sole responsibility, for the mere fact that veterinary professionals play a key role in the food chain, we will be blamed and challenged for the ineffective implementation of systems. We must take it upon our shoulders to challenge parliamentarians to review the systems in our country; and
• Our failure to establish a joint strategy to deal with media on such issues has again been brought to the fore and if role players within the veterinary fraternity are not prepared to jointly develop and fund strategies we will always be caught off guard, unprepared and we will continue to issue different and sometimes conflicting statements.
The control of medicines, including autogenous vaccines, is of concern to most of the members of the profession. The Council managed to engage both the Registrar of Act 36 and Registrar of Act 101 respectively to highlight our concerns. The outcomes of the respective meetings are available on our members' only site at www.savc.org.za. Councillors will also visit the various groups and branches of the South African Veterinary Association to present information on deliberations to members. A recent newspaper article regarding the use of steroids in the sporting codes especially by school kids, has alleged that one possible source of the steroids used in equines, is corrupt veterinarians selling the products, which are not even registered for use in the country, to school kids. Is this true and/or are you aware of it? If so, please inform us.
A pilot project on inspection of facilities was completed during 2006 and approximately one hundred and seventy five facilities were inspected, with more than half of those inspected facilities afforded the opportunity to correct the shortfalls identified. The Council has henceforth decided that all new facilities, including facilities to be identified for compulsory community services, will be inspected. A plan to accommodate this activity has been developed, budgeted and approved. Please make sure that your facility is registered with Council.
The Threatened or Protected Species [TOPS] permits continue to create uncertainty and confusion for our members. I once again want to assure our members and reiterate that we have raised our serious objections regarding the current regulations with authorities and politicians of both Departments of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). We are of the opinion that there may be possible positive considerations for our submissions and while the DEA is currently considering an amendment to exempt veterinarians from certain aspects of the regulation, I urge our members to abide by the current laws of our country and let us not create any opportunity for anyone to question our behaviour.
We appreciate that the Amendment Act 16 of 2012, which amongst other provisions makes provision for the compulsory community services [CCS], appeal process, suspension of a repeat offender until inquiries are finalised and an inspectorate, has been well accepted and welcomed. However the implementation is fully dependent on the acceptance of the CCS and other regulations. The said CCS regulations are in the process of being published for comment and the implementation date will be aligned with the approval of the regulations.
Monitoring the standards of education and training is one of our key objectives and in line with government's priority to ensure decent employment and a skilled labour force to meet the required economic growth, the SAVC:
• has been officially recognised and accredited by the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA) as a professional body responsible for the monitoring of the training of professions registered with us;
• is on course with regards to the visitation to the Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria scheduled for 16 and 17 May [veterinary nursing] and 20 - 25 May 2013 [veterinary ] visit;
• has as part of the Global accreditation efforts, participated as an observer of the Namibian examinations in Namibia in February 2013;
• will sign an agreement with the Australian Veterinary Boards Council [AVBC] in May 2013 to agree on the mutual recognition of the outcomes of visitations; and
• two representatives of Council were appointed as observers for visitations in Melbourne and Glasgow respectively.
The unforeseen recent postal strike has unfortunately led to the postponement of elections for the new Council and the election date is now 26 April 2013. Please don't miss this opportunity and participate by casting your vote as it is your democratic right and we must all ensure that the new Council is in place by the end of July 2013.
We acknowledge that there have been some backlogs in certain aspects of services to our members and the Registrar is working around the clock to deal with the delays. We have a number of appointments in the pipeline and welcome Mrs Ronel Mayhew as Marketing and Systems Administrator. As part of the plans to improve services to the members, up to five positions will be advertised including the position for the Director: Legal Affairs. While we acquire more expertise to improve services, there is no doubt that the accommodation is becoming a problem both for the administration, our image and for Council meetings. The Council has therefore resolved to explore possibilities of moving to more suitable premises.
Our sincere condolences to the members of the profession who lost loved ones and
the family of the late Prof Paul Bland van den Berg. May their souls rest in peace.
President’s message – Nov 2012
The term of the current Councillors will end in July 2013. Members are called upon to participate in the nomination, election and selection processes and to ensure that new members have been elected and selected to serve on Council as from the 1st of August 2013. The Council is not meant to be for specific people only but instead belongs to all of us. We should be willing to sacrifice our time and effort to contribute in its operations. I therefore appeal to all members to raise their hands and be counted to serve the prestigious and wonderful veterinary professions for the benefit of the people of South Africa. Included in this newsletter, is the information on the process to be followed in the election/selection of Councillors for the 2013-2016 period as well as a link to the website. Let us use the opportunity to participate in the process.
The Council’s focus during the past few months was placed on the implementation of the strategic plan to ensure that Council adds value to the services rendered to its members and the public. Please refer to the Registrar’s report in this Newsletter and the reports on meetings held with various entities in an attempt to secure a better dispensation for the veterinary professions and the people and the animals we serve.
At its last meeting on 23 October 2012 the full Council had been honoured by the visit of the Deputy Minister, Dr Pieter Mulder. The Executive Committee and some of the Chairpersons of Committees had met with the Deputy Minister in February 2012 and the Deputy Minister was in turn requested to address the full Council and to advise the Council on what the Ministry’s expectations and vision are for the veterinary professions, A summary of the Dr Mulder’s message is published on page ... of this Newsletter.
Full Council also on 23 October 2012 agreed on the appointment of Mrs Lynette Havinga as the permanent Registrar of the SAVC. The 5-year contract appointment follows the recruitment process with the assistance of a service provider (PeopleBeyond) as well as a performance evaluation of Mrs Havinga as the Acting Registrar. Allow me therefore to first thank Mrs Havinga for her dedication and for steering the ship during the past fifteen months in which the process of appointing a replacement took its course, to officially congratulate her in the new position and to wish her well as the Registrar for the next 5 years.
The Amendment Bill (Veterinary and Para-veterinary Act) has been approved by the National Assembly and thus it is now up to the President to sign the Bill. There has been general support and the biggest task will be in the implementation thereof. The implementation thereof and in particular the implementation of Compulsory Veterinary Community Services [CCS] will be a challenge for all of us. Members received a sms alert to visit the website of the Parliamentary Monitoring Group at www.pmg.co.za for details on the Council’s role in ensuring that the Bill has been adopted. No less than four visits to Parliament secured the process.
How often do we remember to contact or to keep in touch with our fellow retired colleagues? I am absolutely bad at it and ashamed that my daily responsibilities have taken me away from making contact with my colleagues, We are so busy that we tend to concentrate on our immediate or current projects and responsibilities and neglect our colleagues who contributed to what we are today. Do you feel the same? Well you are not alone. Our retired colleagues may feel forgotten, neglected and lost to participation in various activities of the veterinary professions. However they can be assured that even though there is limited contact we will always remember and value their input in the veterinary professions and the development in our country. To all retired colleagues my message to you is thank you, and even though you might have retired from practicing your chosen profession, your inputs will always be welcomed.
The graduates of 2012 (both final year students and qualified professionals who wrote and passed the SAVC exam) will by end of Nov 2012, compete for various posts available in the market and will explore different opportunities in various sectors. I call upon all members to therefore provide all possible means of support. In particular please support our newly qualified graduates in their respective fields of choice to ensure that there will be no regrets in their career choices whether in the veterinary or veterinary para professions and furthermore to ensure that we contribute in making these new colleagues even better professionals for the future.
We have approached the end of the year and it is probably time to take a rest or enjoy quality time with family or for some it is the busiest time of the year in their practices. For those members going on holiday, enjoy the rest and travel safely and for those members who have to stay behind, keep the fires burning.
Our sincere condolences go to
- the members of the profession who lost loved ones
- the families of those members
May their souls rest in peace
God bless, Rebone Moerane
President’s message – June 2012
Several members indicated their dissatisfaction with Council’s decision to increase maintenance fees for veterinarians. Following various discussions including on the ruralvet internet discussion group an explanation regarding the increase was posted on the Council’s website. Subsequent feedback indicated that the majority of members supported the necessary increases. Thank you all for the support. Please rest assured that the decision is in the interest of the veterinary professions.
The Acting Registrar, Mrs Lynette Havinga has been steering the ship. She translated the Council’s strategic plan into an operational plan and commenced with the implementation thereof, part of which, has been the restructuring of the administration. Two positions were advertised and two appointments were made namely that of the Head of Education, Mrs Leonie Westcott and of the Legal Administrator, Mr Thomas Modiba. We have already experienced a positive impact on service delivery within the administration. At the recent Council meeting held on 5 June 2012, it was agreed, for the sake of transparency, to advertise the Registrar’s position and we hope to fill the vacant position within the next three to four months.
The first tier of the 2012/13 budget and onwards is also available for viewing on our website and all members are encouraged to make input thereon directly to the Acting Registrar. It is critical that members make input on the proposed future budgets of the Council as finances affect all members. The future expenses relate to the implementation of Council’s strategic plan and specifically to convert all information and data to an electronic format as well as the transformation of the Council’s communication and marketing strategies.
Notice of the Veterinary and Para-Veterinary Amendment Bill has been published and it can be accessed at: http://www.sabinetlaw.co.za/agriculture-forests-and-fisheries/articles/veterinary-bill-calls-compulsory-community-service for comment.
The Council has on several occasions indicated the urgency of the implementation of Compulsory Veterinary Community Services in the country and we should therefore ensure that the Parliamentary process is not delayed due to a poor response from our side. Please ensure that you access the Bill and use this opportunity to comment as requested, but please also encourage other relevant role players or stakeholders to comment. It is also important to note that other legislation such as the amendments to the rules for veterinarians published in Government Gazette and specifically Rule 10 of the rules for veterinarians (Government gazette Number No 35414 of 8 June 2012 ) has already been approved for implementation and Rule 2 to be published.
The Threatened and Protected Species [TOPS] permit issue is still high on our agenda for 2012. We wish to draw to your attention the fact that we may in the near future have to proceed with litigation against the relevant authorities unless drastic steps are taken to accommodate the veterinary profession as we have not made any progress in resolving the issue amicably. The Council has obtained legal opinion to guide us on future actions.
The Council has been involved during the past quarter in several activities related to the fight against Rhino poaching. These activities included tabling our position at the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Water and Environmental Affairs and sharing relevant technical information related to the health and welfare of the Rhino. Thank you to all members of the profession including other veterinary institutions which are actively involved in the fight against Rhino poaching and promoting the conservation of the species. We are pleased to learn that the Council of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has approved funds for a dedicated forensic laboratory which will provide DNA analysis to enhance anti-poaching efforts in South Africa.
I attended a service delivery forum hosted by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Minister T M Joemat-Pettersson during which the stakeholders were consulted on her departments’ contribution towards the national goals as stipulated in the national government priorities (visit our website to view the documents). The general feedback is that stakeholders are satisfied that they are being consulted and will participate in the quarterly review of performance. However stakeholders are still concerned that the lack of the implementation of several ideas is the major problem for the department. We stressed the need for the evaluation of Veterinary services using the OIE PVS Tool [Tool for the Evaluation of Performance of Veterinary Services] and the department has committed to ensuring that it is done. We will continue to engage the department on relevant aspects and your ideas in this regard are always welcome.
Our sincere condolences go to
- the members of the profession who lost loved ones
- the families of those members
May their souls rest in peace
God bless, Rebone Moerane
President's Message-Sept 2012
The recent acknowledgment by the Minister of Health, Minister Aaron Motsoaledi that the public health care facilities are in a state of collapse in the Gauteng province as a result of tender irregularities (reported in the Pretoria News, newspaper article of 13/09/2012) made me wonder whether the public is not perhaps having the same thoughts about veterinary services in the country. When referring to veterinary services reference is made to veterinary services in toto and not only to state veterinary services. Veterinary services have, in my opinion, not collapsed as did the health care services in Gauteng. However, the public may have lost confidence in the ability of the veterinary professions to provide services in certain geographical areas or in certain fields of the practice. As you may be aware, most of us have been challenging the government to request the World Animal Health Organisation [OIE] to conduct an official evaluation of state veterinary services in SA. I am excited that at last the OIE panel of experts will visit the country to evaluate the status of veterinary services in the country during October 2012. Thanks to the Chief Veterinary Officer our requests are now being met. The outcome thereof will no doubt assist all relevant stakeholders to implement various measures to improve the level of our services in the country.
The Amendment Bill was passed by the National Assembly, Parliament in September 2012. Several meetings of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries took place in Cape Town during August 2012. The Amendment Bill focuses mainly on the Compulsory Veterinary Community Service [CCS] and the Inspectorate and the Bill was extensively debated. The Deputy Minister, Dr Pieter Mulder, Council and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) appeared jointly before the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to explain the amendments in the Bill. Only three inputs were submitted to the public hearing session of the Portfolio committee, including the input of Dr Riaan Du Preez, President of the South African Veterinary Association [SAVA] who attended and made a submission on behalf of the SAVA membership. The Bill has been successfully endorsed by both the Portfolio Committee and the National Assembly and it has yet to be considered by the National Council of Provinces. We have been impressed by the attention given to our draft Bill and credit must be given to all the role players involved particularly the Ministry, Dr Mike Modisane and his team, the SAVA, the Executive Committee of SAVC, the Acting Registrar and her team and the state law advisors.
The implementation of the adopted strategies in terms of our strategic plan is progressing very well, and
The staff complement within the administration has been re-organised with the two positions namely that of the Registrar and the Data & Design Manager having been advertised;
The IT transformation is being finalised; provision for this will be made in the 2013/2014 budget [only one member of the profession commented thus far on the proposed future budget as it appeared in the Newsletter 69];
An audit of over 900 facilities has highlighted to us that regrettably a number of facilities have been closed without the principals of those facilities informing the Council thereof and, a number of veterinarians are still practising from unregistered facilities and/or have not applied for exemption from the minimum standards for facilities. You will agree that this is unacceptable and therefore we advise members to ensure that they get their house in order before the commencement of the routine inspections in 2013. Please also read the information on facilities in this newsletter.
In our previous newsletter, I indicated our concerns with regard to the Threatened and Protected Species [TOPS] permit issue and highlighted possible ramifications. At last we managed to meet with the Director General, Ms Nosipho Ngcaba of the Department of Environmental Affairs [DEA] on 17 July 2012 and presented our position on behalf of the veterinary profession. A presentation on the stance of the veterinary profession had also been presented to the Provincial representatives on 24 July 2012 by Dr Joseph van Heerden. Several positive proposals were agreed upon at the meeting held with the Director General and we will in the near future publish the outcome once the minutes thereof have been agreed upon by the parties.
Most members must by now be aware of the possible litigation by the Wildlife Ranching Association of SA [WRSA] instituted against the Council and relating to the implementation of the new Rule 10. The Council will therefore refrain from further statements regarding this issue and deal with the matter in terms of the relevant legal processes.
Councillors attended a number of congresses which include the SAVA 6TH Veterinary and Para Veterinary Congress, Para Veterinary Congress, SAVA branch congresses and meetings and the Faculty day at Onderstepoort. Congratulations to the winners of the various prestigious awards. As part of our African liaison and partnership, we hosted a delegation from Namibia who visited to observe the SAVC's examination process and the Zambian delegation from the recently established independent Council and who came to explore the functioning of the various activities of the administration and Council, in particular the Continuing Professional Development processes.
Our Annual report 2011-12 has been finalised and was submitted to the Minister by 14 September 2012 for tabling in Parliament. Thank you to all who contributed to the various activities of the Council and to those who assisted with the compiling of the report. The report will be published on our web page for members to peruse and comments will be welcomed.
Our sincere condolences to
- the members of the profession who lost loved ones
- the families of those members who passed away in particular we have been informed of Drs Rick Peterson [KwaZulu-Natal] and Stuart Hargreaves [Zimbabwe].
May their souls rest in peace
President’s message – March 2012
The first quarter of this year has again been characterised by the negative media reports of the veterinary profession in our country as a result of the allegations against a few veterinarians allegedly involved in the Rhino poaching saga and/or illegal distribution of opioids (M99).
Unfortunately these reports lead to the questioning of the ethics of the veterinary profession by various role players. For the majority of the law abiding veterinary professionals who at all times maintain our ethos and professional conduct, the question might be “How do we change this negative perception?” Well as communication experts will tell you, it is not easy. However, Council and most of the members of the veterinary professions strongly believe that it can be done. We have to change this perception as we don’t have an option. Immediate interventions include:-
Another matter on which negative reports were published is the transformation of the veterinary profession and the challenged for the Onderstepoort Veterinary Faculty (UP) on its recruitment strategy. Our response has been widely distributed in the media, is published in this Newsletter and is published on the website at www.savc.org.za. Members who wish to circulate the page can visit the link at: http://www.savc.org.za/pdf_docs/2012%20policy_statement_vet_recruitment_UP.pdfIn an attempt to deal with the challenges identified by the Council and in preparations of the activities lying ahead, strategic planning sessions had been held on the 25 and 26 January 2012 and a few key strategic interventions were identified. Please visit the website to view the few identified strategies and your comments will be highly appreciated. We are committed to ensure that we achieve the utmost professional performance and standards and, it is any member’s right with respect in mind to demand adequate services from the Council. However to deliver on the expected mandate, it is evident that the current financial resources are inadequate and require urgent review. An article in this regard has been included in this Newsletter for your information and comment.
A meeting was held in February 2012 with various role players such as the Deputy Minister (DM) of Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Registrar of Act 101, Registrar of Act 36, to discuss among others-
Councillors have been presenting talks at various congresses (South African Equine Veterinary Association [SAEVA] a group of the SAVA, the Wildlife group, Pig Veterinary Society, Livestock Health and Production Group [LHPG] and will present at the SAVA KZN, Johannesburg and Pretoria branch meetings) to brief members on the recent developments regarding all the issues above as well as on questions relevant to the groups. I wish to thank the Chairpersons and organisers of the various meetings/congresses for affording the Council an opportunity to speak at such gatherings and to listen to viewpoints of our members.
Our sincere condolences to
- the members of the profession who lost loved ones
- and the families
May their sole rest in peace
God bless, Rebone Moerane
President's Message, November 2011
We are in the last quarter of the year with some members already looking forward to taking leave to relax and recuperate from the hard work delivered during the year. Thank you to all members for the dedicated services to the veterinary professions and the public at large. I am convinced that even though our professions still needs to be given the recognition it deserves, you have in one way or another contributed to the animal health and well-being, food security and human health in the country.
Our sincere gratitude to all the training institutions involved with the training of the veterinary professions and the respective veterinary professionals and para professionals who contributed towards the development of our new graduates including members who wrote the Council's registration examinations. Your contribution towards increasing the number of the required veterinary professionals and para professionals and the research output to impact on the identified priorities in the country is acknowledged. There are vast opportunities for our new graduates and registered professionals to deliver services and to gain experience in the field. I appeal to the experienced members of our professions to provide opportunities and support structures for the new graduates and /or new registered members.
During the recent court appearance of two non-South Africans of Asian origin on the Rhino poaching allegation, the SABC 2 news again reported the involvement of veterinarians without clear evidence. My initial response at the time was to consider legal action (interdict) against the SABC for generally tarnishing the image of the veterinary profession. However, on second thought, I decided to cool down and rather await the outcome of the court case. The challenge for us is that-
-The involvement of a few (in my opinion less than 0,05%) veterinarians are creating an impression that the veterinary profession is generally involved in illegal activities;
-It is true that there are indeed a few veterinarians involved and some colleagues might have been aware of the activities of their colleagues but were afraid to report them or didn't see the need to report their colleagues to the Council;
-Once a veterinarian has been arrested and charged by the National Prosecuting Authority [NPA], it takes long for the legal processes to be complete;
even those implemented by the Council take long.
However, we want to assure the profession that the Council has been working hard to fast-track the disciplinary processes and to find the means to deal effectively with the colleagues who are involved in illegal activities. The inspectorate has already been piloted and we are certain that with your full support, we will ultimately deal with your concerns.
As part of the review of our planning and activities for 2012-13, the Council will have a strategic session at the end of January 2012 instead of in the middle of the year as in the past.
The outcome of our deliberations might have an influence on the organogram of the administration and we have decided to delay the appointment of the new Registrar until the process has been finalised. Mrs Lynette Havinga will be the acting Registrar until a new registrar has been appointed. A consultant was appointed by Council to assist with the investigation of various human resource issues within the Council and the administration and, various positive and negative aspects were identified. The negative issues are currently being dealt with and some might take longer to resolve than what had been anticipated.
I therefore appeal to members to re-look the current objectives and activities and to forward your proposals or ideas directly to me, a Councillor or to the Acting Registrar by the end of the 1st week in January 2012. The proposals could include issues such as
-What you consider as the positive things that Council are doing right?;
-What could be improved?; and
-What should be discarded?
Remember that we can only plan ahead effectively with the benefit of our members' inputs. The SAVC belongs to you the veterinary professions and it does not belong to the Councillors or to the administration. We only make decisions, implement and facilitate decisions based on your inputs.
A team comprising of representatives of the SAVC and SAVA, recently met with the National Commissioner of the Consumer Protection Act to seek clarity and to establish a working relationship with the office of the Commissioner. Their report or feedback is included in this newsletter and more input will be appreciated to assist the team to further engage a work group of the Commissioner. There are in my opinion, certain statements from the Commissioner which might have serious implications for the profession. We therefore need to consider the report seriously and where possible seek legal advice to ensure that members are well protected going forward without compromising services and/ or the consumers' rights.
The members of the Executive Committee has ultimately managed to engage the Ministry (DAFF) and has regular contact with the office of the Deputy Minister, Dr Pieter Mulder who has been mandated to deal with issues of the SAVC. The most important issues affecting the profession were tabled which include-
-Amendments to the Act/ regulations/rules;
-The Threatened or Protected Species [TOPS] permit issue with the Department of Environmental Affairs;
-Synchronisation of other S A legislation with our Act [ Medicines Act, Act 101 of 1965;
Act 36 of 1947];
-Food Safety and Security matters;
-Concerns relating to the delivery of state veterinary services in the country;
-Training of animal health technicians;
and the proposed inspectorate.
In this approaching festive Season, we wish to extend our sincere condolences to -the members of the profession who lost loved ones;
-the families of Dr Louis Schwalbach and his wife, and Dr Ludwe Ramsay Ngaka;
-our staff member Ms J Manabile (her mother passed away during October 2011). May their souls rest in peace.
-the families of Dr Lodewyk Le Grange and Dr Hendrik Botha;
We wish to congratulate Dr Clive Marwick who has been appointed the African Councillor on the Council of the World Veterinary Association.
In conclusion, I wish you all a happy festive season and let us all look forward to a positive 2012.
President's Message, September 2011
Veterinary professionals from all corners of the world will attend or have attended the 30th World Veterinary Congress in South Africa from the 10th-14th October 2011 by the time you receive this Newsletter. How fortunate we have been to host such a momentous occasion when we are all celebrating the World Veterinary Year with our beautiful country chosen for the closing ceremony. I hope that in one way or another, all members of the profession in the country participated, had an opportunity to network, benefitted from the various presentations and used the opportunity to promote the veterinary professions particularly in the rural areas of our country.
Speaking of the celebrations held during the World Veterinary Year, I have been humbled by the efforts of various members of the Joint Public Relations committee (consisting of the SAVC, Black Veterinary Forum, the Faculty of Veterinary Science,UP, South African Veterinary Association, Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute, North-West University, University of SA, Veterinary Nursing Association of SA, Tshwane University of Technology, the SA Association of Animal Health Technicians and students) in promoting the various events and professions in the country. The commitment by all stakeholders prove that irrespective of our institutional mandates, together we can achieve the goal to promote the profession and enlighten the public on the contributions of the veterinary professions to secure and advance animal health and animal well-being, human health and food security in the country. A communication strategy has been developed and the various activities will continue beyond the closing ceremony in October 2011. I therefore still encourage all members to inform themselves about the various activities and to initiate many more activities throughout the country. Well done to everyone!
During the term, I and /or members of the Executive Committee and Councillors had the opportunity to attend various meetings on behalf of the Council as follows:
A workshop organised by Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries [DAFF] to discuss the future of veterinary services in the country. Various institutions were invited to the workshop and the discussions were frank. The state veterinary services acknowledged the various challenges in the country and developed excellent ideas on solving the problems. The main task for them though, will be whether these ideas are implemented urgently to improve the standards of state veterinary services in the country.
During the term, I and /or members of the Executive Committee and Councillors had the opportunity to attend various meetings on behalf of the Council as follows:
A workshop organised by Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries [DAFF] to discuss the future of veterinary services in the country. Various institutions were invited to the workshop and the discussions were frank. The state veterinary services acknowledged the various challenges in the country and developed excellent ideas on solving the problems. The main task for them though, will be whether these ideas are implemented urgently to improve the standards of state veterinary services in the country.
The meeting was followed by a meeting held on 10 August 2011 between the Executive Committee of the SAVC and the Deputy Minister (DM) of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Dr Pieter Mulder at which meeting several burning issues affecting the veterinary professions were discussed including some of the outcomes of the workshop. You will recall that the SAVC had tried for the past 2 years to meet with the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries without success and we are delighted that following on the meeting held with the Deputy Minister being mandated as our Minister, we are able to now build relationships whereby our concerns and advice to government can be frankly discussed. We will continue to engage DAFF on their commitments including the Deputy Minister on the outcome of the meetings.
Animal Health Forum [AHF] meetings were attended at which the activities of the forum were resuscitated and a new constitution and objectives were adopted (see our website for the outcome). I am confident that with the regular meetings between representatives of DAFF and the AHF, the veterinary services in the country can be improved and all stakeholders will be benefitted.
Joint Public Relations committee meetings took place and a communication strategy for the veterinary professions was adopted and various activities agreed upon (see the website for the outcome); and
The Council engaged students at NWU and UNISA. Thank you to all colleagues who made the meetings possible. For the first time, students who are enrolled for diplomas/degrees in animal health have been exposed to the Council at grass roots level. The students were informed on the rules pertaining to students and animal health technicians and we discussed the various opportunities available to them and their role in society.
During the month of July 2011 members of the public were encouraged to participate in various activities to celebrate Mandela's 67 minutes in honour of our country's Hero, former President, Nelson Mandela. I hope that we all in our respective areas contributed towards the initiative. Well, the administration had their share in celebrating giving 67 minutes to the less advantaged (see pictures). I so wish that we can continuously contribute throughout the year to change and fight hunger, poverty and joblessness in the country. Well done, to everyone, hero's and role models to many people.
With the resignation of the Registrar, Ms CE Pienaar on 15 July 2011, the full Council held an urgent meeting to deliberate on the matter and to plan on the way-forward and the following was resolved:-
To appoint Mrs Lynette Havinga as acting Registrar until further notice;
To appoint a human resource company to assist the Council with various human resource matters. The mandate included the investigation into various allegations, evaluation of the Council's human resource policies and review the structure (organogram) based on our mandate, strategies and the job descriptions of various staff members.
A consulting firm was subsequently appointed and their report will be considered during the full Councilmeeting to be held on 25 October 2011.
It has been a difficult period for staff members and the Councillors, however the members can rest assured that measures will be implemented to ensure that the focus on meeting our mandate and serving the veterinary professions is not lost. I therefore would like to apologise on behalf of the administration and the Council for any inconvenience experienced by members of the professions during the past term.
Until the next term. God Bless
President's Message, June 2011
The end of the year approaches with so much still to be accomplished! South Africans again demonstrated their respect for the constitution by ensuring that there were peaceful local government elections held on the 18th May 2011. I hope that you all voted and participated during the process.
In its efforts to develop a long term plan for South Africa (vision 2030), the National Planning Commission (NPC) released a diagnostic report on the challenges facing our country. Two main strategic issues have been identified namely reduction of poverty and inequality. The ten most important challenges have been identified. Some of the major challenges identified are that too few South Africans are employed and the quality of education for most black people remains poor.
The report is available at www.npconline.co.za OR please visit the link at: http://www.npconline.co.za/MediaLib/Downloads/Home/Publications/Diagnostic%20Overview.pdf.
The veterinary professions play an important part in food safety and security and we note that food safety and security has not been specifically addressed in the Vision of the NPC. The NPC report no doubt is frank about the challenges and I urge all members of the profession and passionate citizens to read the report. You may have different ideas on other issues and on how we could improve service delivery as a country. However, I would appreciate it that you in addition to sending in your suggestions on how the country could deal with the identified challenges, you specifically highlight how we as the veterinary professions can contribute to the solutions on the challenges. Your inputs will be used to draft the Council inputs for onward transmission to the NPC.
The South African Veterinary Association (SAVA) held its annual general meeting on 24 June 2011 and the current term of office of President of the SAVA and some members of the Board of Directors came to an end. I wish to make use of this opportunity to thank the outgoing President of the SAVA, Dr Anthea Fleming and her team for their vision, leadership and collaboration during their term of office. Your contribution to the profession is well acknowledged particularly taking into consideration the sacrifice you made in terms of hours of unpaid voluntary work you dedicate to your profession. We trust that you will continue to provide regular advice and input to the profession. We also wish the new leadership all the best for their term in office.
Four Councillors attended five congresses during the first half of the year to meet face to face with members of the professions and to discuss matters that affect our members. We wish to thank all the branches and groups who received us and who made specific opportunities for Councillors to address members. Valuable time has been spent with members and we wish to continue our liaison with the members of the professions on this basis. We once again encourage all members to attend the World Veterinary Congress in October 2011 in Cape Town.
We also for the very first time met formally with the Onderstepoort Veterinary and Para Veterinary Student Council (OPVSC). This liaison will continue and will probably be expanded to other student bodies in the near future. The main concerns of the students related to the process of implementation of Compulsory Veterinary Community Service (CCS) and communication related thereto. We have subsequently been informed that CCS will not be implemented in 2012. We have furthermore presented two grass roots student presentations at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, UP and the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) in an attempt to liaise with students from the first year to the final year of study. These events were successful and will be continued at other institutions, the North West University and at Unisa during the remainder of the year and in future.
The winter months are here and we had unexpected heavy rains in certain parts of the country. We need to ask ourselves whether we have clear predictions on various animal diseases in the country? Or do we have an appropriate monitoring system with effective lines of reporting between the state and private sector? If so, is it monitored to our satisfaction and do we have adequate response methods? We don't know whether it is functioning in your area and we believe you are the ones to provide the relevant answers, to bring matters to our attention and through collaboration we can ensure that our clients are well informed and implement proper biosecurity plans.
I represented the SAVC at a seminar in Bamako, Mali by invitation of the OIE on 14 and 15 April 2011. The OIE Seminar dealt with the “Role of the Veterinary Statutory Bodies in Promoting the Veterinary Profession”. A major aspect dealt with was the need to strengthen the capacities of countries globally to create or maintain national animal health and veterinary public health systems. The lack of veterinary private public partnerships in support of veterinary services in many countries has been identified. Members please read the Bamako report as published on the home page of the SAVC's website and provide us with your comments as to how we as the veterinary professions can ensure that capacity is improved in our country.
We are fast approaching 10 October 2011, the date of commencement of the World Veterinary Congress to be held in Cape Town. During the recent Joint Public Relations committee meeting, on which all stakeholders of the veterinary professions are represented, it became evident that the World Veterinary Year 2011 is already half way and there has not been many visible efforts within our professions to make the public and policy makers aware of the critical role of the veterinary professions in South Africa. The Committee is currently also working on new strategies to ensure that the Year receives national media coverage. I therefore appeal to all members to become active in marketing the role of the profession, inform us accordingly of your scheduled events and to advise us of any possible means to promote our professions. We have also as a committee embarked on a veterinary impact study and a survey will be published on the SAVC's website to solicit your input thereon. The impact study has the goal to inform ourselves, the policy makers and the public on the role of the veterinary professions in the economy and labour market in South Africa. Please ensure that once we send you an alert via sms that you please take part in this survey. The study will not have any value if everyone does not take part in this survey.
Dr Anne De Vos, Chairperson of the Education Committee of Council represented the SAVC at the Conference on Veterinary Education in Lyon, France on 14 and 15 May 2011. The Conference forms part of the Celebrations of the 250 years of veterinary education and forms part of the celebrations held in the World Veterinary Year 2011. Some of the key messages taken from this event were the acceptance of the OIE's Day One competences (alignment of training outcomes) and emphasis placed on the principles of the One World One Health concept.
The recommendations of the Education Committee will be considered by Council in October 2011. Council received preliminary reports that there have already been a number of activities taking place in this regard inter alia the publication of an advertisement for a post at one of the institutions to ensure that work integrated learning of animal health technicians is implemented in a structured and accountable manner.
Many aspects affecting the veterinary professions are being dealt with by Council not least of all the issues relating to the performance of veterinary and para veterinary services by lay persons. Together with services performed by lay persons are the illegal use of medicines and the issuing of prescriptions. We have for several years deliberated on the establishment of an Inspectorate and in the last newsletter we indicated that we were still awaiting the amendments of the Medicines control Act through the MRA to ensure that the inspectorate has all relevant powers. Due to the anticipated delay in the amendment of the Act with no clear guidance as to when the amendments will be processed through parliament, the Council recently decided to proceed with the establishment of the Inspectorate on a pilot basis. The inspectorate will however only have powers in terms of our own Act and time will tell as to how effective the inspectorate is. The implementation of an inspectorate within a month or two has been made a priority for the Council and we request all members to be alerted and to assist Council in this regard when requested to do so. The logistics around the establishment of the inspectorate are being finalised and members of the profession will be informed once an inspector has been appointed.
The implementation of the Consumer Protection Act has no doubt brought its challenges within the profession. We are aware of the differing opinions on what the impact is and how we should respond as a profession. Because of this, we have together with SAVA identified possible solutions to assist our members in understanding the Act and its impact. You will therefore in due course be informed on the identified solutions and actions.
The Council has been informed on the frustrations experienced by service providers regarding the slow response on the submitted applications for CPD accreditation. On behalf of the Council, I apologise for all the inconvenience caused to date and we have implemented corrective measures with immediate effect. The Council has also recently agreed on accommodating soft skills within the structured points of the CDP activities and the CPD committee has been given the mandate to further develop guidelines on how the soft skills can be accommodated.
The Council wish to inform members that the Registrar has resigned and that we are now in the process to address this void. We wish to thank Mrs Pienaar for the short period in service. Finally we wish to welcome back Dr Jana Pretorius, Councillor and chairperson of the Committee on Specialisation as well as new Councillor, Mr Hiram Arendse who represents the laboratory animal technologist profession. May your terms in office be productive. Until next time, God Bless.
President's Message, March 2011
The World Veterinary Year, 2011, marks the 250th world anniversary of the veterinary profession. The year was launched in France on the 24th January 2011 and a number of activities have been planned worldwide. The main aim of this year is “to improve public awareness and remind policy makers everywhere in the world that:-
Our profession has been serving human kind for 250 years;
Modern veterinarians are not only animal doctors and animal welfare advocates but they are also key public health stakeholders because of their crucial role in reducing global hunger, controlling zoonoses, monitoring food quality and safety, biomedical research and protecting the environment and biodiversity”
In an attempt not to forgo the opportunity to be part of the global celebration, the Joint Public Relations Committee comprising of various stakeholders within the veterinary fraternity in SA has developed a preliminary 2011 year programme as a guide to all the various stakeholders /organisations. We believe that the programme can be expanded in the respective provinces (please view the programme published in this Newsletter on page 24). South Africa has unfortunately not yet formally launched its programme. We are working hard to bring on board the relevant authorities to ensure that we effectively market the programme and the various events. I therefore call upon all members in the respective provinces, both state and private practitioners, to finalise their plans and to ensure that we create awareness of the role of the veterinary professions by hosting successful events. May I remind everyone that we have in the past complained about the lack of understanding of the role of our professions and we now have an excellent opportunity to market our profession in the country.
The recent State of the Nation address and the budget speech highlighted a number of priority areas and incentives that will impact on us as South African citizens. The challenge though is how we as the profession will contribute to in particular job creation. A number of ideas could include-
Urgently create a data base of unemployed graduates in particular the animal health technicians and we all (both state and private sector) create opportunities for the graduates to be immediately employed;
Train more veterinary para-professionals earmarked more specifically for employment with private veterinarians to provide services in the rural communities;
Transfer knowledge to the rural communities to improve production and economic development which could lead to job creation for the unemployed.
These are but a few ideas and I am interested to receive further inputs from the respective veterinary and veterinary para professionals as I believe strongly that failure to create job opportunities will dismantle and negate the achievements of our country to date.
Since 2008 and following on the publication of the regulations related to National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (TOPS-Threatened or Protected Species), the SAVC has been inundated with numerous concerns expressed by our members about the impracticality of the current legislation and the proposed amendments regarding chemical immobilization of wildlife, translocation, capturing, collecting specimens and the permit system for veterinarians involved in such activities. There is clear evidence that the system is not practical for our members and it also contradicts our legislation and the Code of Conduct and Practice. The SAVC has since 2008 had on a number of occasions met with the relevant authorities from the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and put forward proposals to have members of the veterinary profession exempted from the permit system and at all engagements, we were given the impression that our concerns were legitimate and our proposals would be urgently considered. However besides our attempts to date, there seems to be reluctance from the DEA to speed up the process in considering our proposals. The members should be assured that the SAVC considers the situation as unacceptable and we will continue to rigorously engage the relevant authorities including the Ministers of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Environmental Affairs and Health to contend for the rights of our members.
The summer rainfall unfortunately brought about floods in certain parts of our country with a number of animal disease outbreaks reported. The recent report on the foot and mouth disease [FMD] outbreak in Kwa Zulu Natal has in my opinion and that of several members again highlighted some weaknesses in our animal health systems. While we view these as challenges, we must also consider them as opportunities to again highlight the importance of the role of the veterinary and veterinary para professionals in society. What immediately comes to mind is whether we are effectively working together to ensure the implementation of the best animal health system in the country. Unfortunately my personal opinion is that we are not and my response is that we are still operating in silos. We talk but do not act on the identified solutions. Are the veterinary services and veterinary science in the country taken seriously and should we allow the current situation to persist? In my opinion the answer is a big, NO. Will a possible Indaba on the animal health system in the country attended by the technically skilled decision makers including industry, leaders of the Onderstepoort complex and politicians assist? Maybe. What is your opinion?
I recently came across an article which indicates that the Commercial Banks in Africa are reluctant to provide commercial loans to medical practitioners as they are rated as being a high risk and if they receive a loan, the loan is granted at a higher interest rate (e.g. 30%). It has also been reported that the President of the South African Medical Association confirmed this practice in our country, whilst the majority of the banks have indicated the situation as being different in South Africa. It will be interesting to find out what the situation is for our professions. We probably need the experts amongst our professions to conduct some investigations on our behalf to have a clear picture relating to loans available to veterinary practitioners. Are there any members out there willing to take up the challenge? If so please contact us.
At the Council’s June 2010 meeting, it was decided to engage with students on grass roots level at the various veterinary and para-veterinary training institutions and a programme is being finalised in this regard. A few Council members and the administration recently met with students at Onderstepoort and I am informed that it was a constructive engagement session. However, one major concern expressed by the students is the progress on implementation of the Compulsory Community Services (CCS). The Council concurs with the concerns raised by the students as we have in terms of the proposed amendments to the legislation and policies, missed the opportunity to see the programme implemented in 2012. We will highlight our concerns with the Minister and hope that the political leadership in the country will find the means to expedite the process.
A number of conferences and congresses are scheduled for 2011 which provide us with continued professional development opportunities to improve and update our knowledge and skills. Without promoting any particular event, I urge all members to make an effort to attend the upcoming World Veterinary Congress during the week of 10-16 October 2011 as I believe that we can together contribute to the success of the event to be held in our beautiful country. I therefore also wish the organisers all the best in their strenuous endeavours to organise the World Veterinary Congress.
The new Registrar, Mrs Rina Pienaar took over the reins from Mrs Hanri Kruger as from January 2011 and some of our members have already engaged with her. I hope that we will all give her the necessary support similar to the support provided to Mrs Kruger. A formal farewell function was held for Mrs Kruger with attendance by some of the previous Presidents of Council and representatives from various organisations. Thank you to all who made the event a success and we wish Mrs Kruger the best in her new endeavours. One of our staff members, Ms Getrude Mazibuko, has after serving the SAVC for 10 years, left the organisation to explore other career opportunities. We thank her for her dedication and contribution during her employment with Council and wish her all the success in her new employment.
Until next time, God bless you all.
President's Message, September 2010
A new Council has been established with effect from August 2010 with a fairly representative number of previous and new Council members. It was again an honour for me to be re-elected as the President of the SAVC for this term of office during the inauguration meeting. It was heartening to see how the members from the previous Council welcomed the new members and immediately exposed them to the working environment within the SAVC. As I have already indicated in the past, being a Councillor is not a glamorous position, it requires dedication, commitment, sacrifice and an ability to be fair and objective in dealing with various matters that are presented before the Council. I therefore wish the current Councillors a successful term and hope that they will always remember to take along the members of the professions in their decision-making process and continue to promote the vision and mission of the veterinary and para-veterinary professions. Please visit the website for details regarding the new Councillors and committees of Council.
The veterinary profession has in the 3rd quarter of this year experienced an interesting and busy period which included two major congresses held respectively by the South African Veterinary Association [SAVA] and South African Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventative Medicine. I had the opportunity to attend both congresses and was impressed with the quality and standard of presentations and by the CPD opportunities created. Congratulations to all winners of various awards. Please keep up being the role models to many of us including the future generation. A number of members also took the opportunity to visit the SAVC stand at the SAVA congress. I wish to acknowledge your inputs and positive criticisms- you can be assured that your comments are always taken into consideration and wherever it is required, we will contact you for further discussion.
Visitation teams under the leadership of Professor Tubby Veary conducted intensive evaluations of the animal health training and prescribed qualifications offered by two recognised institutions, namely the University of South Africa [UNISA] and the North West University [NWU] this year and conducted on-site visits at the end of July and the end of August 2010. I took the opportunity to visit the team at one of the institutions and was impressed with the manner in which the team conducted the visit, despite the full programme lined up for them they conducted seventeen meetings with various role players, met as a team at night and scrutinised volumes of information. I was however disappointed at the poor response from the professions (particularly from State Veterinary services considering that the majority of animal health technicians are employed by the State) with regards to submitting inputs to the team prior to their scheduled visit notwithstanding the numerous letters and notices that went out from the administration. Nevertheless I am confident that the teams will produce relevant and unbiased reports that will be debated upon in the interest of improving the standards of our training in South Africa.
The letters from the Registrar to members of the veterinary profession who have not logged their CPD points despite the earlier reminders, led to various responses and in general more than 80% of the members responded before the end June 2010, an extended deadline, whilst others managed to apply for deferment. I urge members who have not responded, to do so in order for the Council to understand your challenges and not to wait for the confrontational approach.
During the inaugural meeting of the new Council and as its President, I received a formal letter of resignation from our current Registrar, Mrs Hanri Kruger with effect from January 2011 indicating that she would relocate more than 800kms outside Gauteng as the main reason for her resignation. We were all shocked by her decision as she has in the past 17 years dedicated her time and energy to build the Council to where it is today. She established a sound administration and ensured that the finances were sound with audit opinions accordingly. She guided the Council on numerous occasions to take the correct decisions and to avoid negative legal ramifications through her distinct understanding of the laws of South Africa and the legal fraternity. She provided us with objective legal advice. You can therefore understand that the mood in the Council chamber and at the SAVC offices is one of coming to terms with our loss of an outstanding advisor. I was personally informed more than eight months ago about the possible move and I had still hoped that through our engagements, we would be able to convince the family not to relocate. Reality has now struck as there is no chance of keeping our Registrar in Pretoria. The Executive Committee members of the Council were mandated by the new full Council to find ways of, where possible, using Mrs Kruger's experience and services and ensuring that there is a smooth transition with the appointment of a new Registrar. I am amongst those who have only recently managed to accept the decision and I am confident that irrespective of her location, she will continue to promote our professions and be prepared to assist where possible. There are a number of previous Presidents who could easily write pages and pages about her impeccable integrity, work ethic, commitment and sacrifice towards the professions for which we have not always rewarded or acknowledged her appropriately.
Last but not least I dedicate this message to Hanri Kruger and on behalf of the Country, Councillors, members of the professions and staff, I thank Mrs Kruger for her outstanding service to us all, her family for their role and support; may she and her family be blessed on their future endeavours.
The President’s Message, June 2010
The African Continent, in particular South Africa has at last, and for the first time, hosted the prestigious FIFA World Cup Soccer event during the 11th June to 10th July 2010. As its citizens, we are still all caught up in the celebrations and hype. We purchased various garments in support of Bafana Bafana and, of course, some paraphernalia in support of the other thirty-one qualifying nations that have been participating in the event. I had hoped that the host, Bafana Bafana, would progress beyond the group stages of the event but was nonetheless proud of their final performance. Thousands of supporters, including foreign tourists, have and will continue to travel to various cities of our beautiful country to watch and celebrate with us. We hope that the event will leave behind a legacy which will benefit the public and future generations.
A new term of office is to start for Council on 31 July 2010. Any member newly elected, selected or designated as a Councillor into the Council might at first think that a three year term is long enough to achieve set goals. It is unbelievable how time flies and I wish it could be possible. However, he experience in my last two terms has made me realise that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Nevertheless, looking back over the last three years of the current term, there have been several achievements which included among others: meeting our main objectives as the SAVC, changing the image of the Council, creating closer ties and contacts with our members, increased participation of our members in discussion of various issues, and creating an improved website for better communication.
Naturally, there were a few disappointments and challenges such as:
The inability to receive the final KPMG report on “The Future Vision of the Veterinary and Para-Veterinary Professions” in our country. This would have been used to guide planning and decisions by various role players including at a political level;
Another shortcoming was the inability to promote our various professions during the World Veterinary Day [24 April] which is celebrated annually. I am however hopeful that following on the establishment of a joint committee on public relations representing the various veterinary and para veterinary stakeholders, that we will all as of 2011 maximise our efforts and claim our space in the public arena; and
To ultimately come to the decisions on the two issues, Rule 10 (the use of medicine including chemical immobilisation) and the guidelines on compounding, during the term in office were challenging as members of the professions had serious differences of opinion. Apart from the time it took for deliberations to come to a conclusion, I am satisfied that we have decided on the best way forward and in the best interest of the profession, the public and animals.
The outgoing Council was in my opinion, united in achieving the set objectives and we couldn't have delivered on our mandate without:
The support, sacrifice and dedication displayed at all times by the administration under the leadership of Mrs Hanri Kruger. To the Registrar and staff, thank you and I hope you will as in the past, continue to share your experience and knowledge with the incoming Councillors;
The input received from members of the professions irrespective of whether positive or negative. Their feedback assisted us in revisiting certain decisions and also gave us different perspectives on issues being discussed. Please continue to participate and show interest in influencing decisions of the Council; and
The support from and positive engagements with leaders; and in particular veterinarians and para-veterinary professionals in various organisations such as the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries [DAFF], South African Veterinary Association [SAVA], Training Institutions for veterinarians and para-veterinary professionals, Black Veterinary Forum [BVF], Animal Welfare Organisations [AWOs], etc.
I am certain that the Councillors enjoyed working for the professions and even though sometimes it was tough, sacrifices made with intense deliberations during the meetings, we do not regret being Councillors as we always regard the interests of the professions as a priority and ensure that self interest doesn't prevail. To the Vice President, Dr Quixi Sonntag and fellow Council members, thank you for the confidence you bestowed upon me as your leader and for all the support you provided during the last three years.
The process of appointing a new Council was unfortunately not finalised before publication of this newsletter and we are concerned about the implications and hope that the Minister manages to designate members to a new Council to take over as of 31 July 2010. To the members of the professions who ultimately make it into the new Council, I wish you all strength and may the Almighty bless and guide you in the new term.
God bless you all and your families.
Dr Rebone Moerane
The President’s message March 2010
A number of members of the Veterinary and Para-Veterinary professions have recently been kept busy with trying to control the spread the Rift Valley fever outbreak in our country. The spread of the disease has unfortunately to date led to loss of livestock with negative impact on the financial position of some farmers particularly in the Free State, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape provinces. However the magnitude of the outbreak has also led to questions being raised by various people on the capabilities and capacity of Government in particular the State Veterinary services including the Onderstepoort Biological Product in controlling the disease. One cannot blame the people raising such questions and as I have always said in the past, we can only dispel such perceptions if both the State and Private sector is closely working together with clear roles identified and complementing each other to maximise on the capacity available in our country.
I recently heard on radio, that the Minister of Higher Education is considering the development of a system that will allow people who didn’t study for a particular degree/diploma at a tertiary institution but gained particular skills while employed, to be officially recognised and certified as such and, forcing the employers to accept the certificate. Whereas I accept that it could work in certain fields such as Artisans, I couldn’t imagine how it would work in the Veterinary field. This also brought to my mind the issue about some of our members who are illegally training laypersons on Veterinary procedures and thus creating wrong perceptions that you don’t need a proper training programme at a tertiary institution to become a Veterinarian. If any of our members out there have also heard of the Minister’s intention or you had access to any document, please send us your comments and opinions
The World Veterinary day will be celebrated on the 24th April 2010 with the theme “One World, One Health” and I am impressed to see that SAVA has reminded and called upon its members to participate and profile the profession. The council would also like to emphasise the need to profile the professions and use such opportunities to reach out and demonstrate what important role the veterinary profession play towards public health. With the current outbreak of Rift Valley fever in mind, a well planned awareness programme involving both the Veterinary and Medical professionals could be a classical example to use during the World veterinary day
The World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) has on its website, called upon applications for national Veterinary associations (on their own or in collaboration with other bodies) worldwide, to apply for the 2010 award on the best celebrated World Veterinary Day. South Africa has since 2000 (the inception of the world veterinary day) not received such an award and I am certain that there are a number of our members who are actually doing excellent work in this regard (SAVA, State and Faculty) and they could easily together represent our country. I am therefore calling upon and appealing to the various organisations involved in the veterinary field to consider their joint activities and subsequently apply for the 2010 award. The individual members of the profession cannot unfortunately showcase their work and apply for the award and I believe that it is the responsibility of the management of the various bodies in our country to profile the excellent work of our colleagues internationally
We are fast approaching the end of term of the current Councillors who have no doubt sacrificed and immensely contributed towards the improvement of the profession. In line with our Act, nominations were called upon by the council and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries accordingly and, we are looking forward to the final decision on who will be the new councillors going forward. Thank you to all members who participated in the process and to the registrar and staff for ensuring that we keep to the set timeframe
In conclusion, I wish you all successful and stress free life and hope that the quote from Richard Bach will give you strength “You are never given a wish without being given the power to make it come true. You may have to work for it, however”
God bless you and your families
Dr Rebone Moerane
The President's Message November 2010
As we head towards the end of the year we need to reflect back as the profession and as individuals, on the achievements, weaknesses, challenges for the current year and identify opportunities which we could explore during the coming year. In my opinion, the road has not been easy for the profession with among others complaints from various quarters on our policies/rules, increasing demand for our services and continuous general ignorance of our profession in the country including the disappointment of not officially meeting with the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to date . However I must commend all people who saw it fit not to despair during the year but continuously dedicated their time and expertise in ensuring that we overcome the challenges and weaknesses. Our 2008/9 annual report was tabled on time with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and I advise all members to peruse the report and submit inputs on possible improvements for the future.
A number of new graduates and professionals from outside the RSA who recently wrote the SAVC exams will be taking an oath to dedicate their time and life to the ethos of the various veterinary and para veterinary professions. This will not have been possible without the dedication and commitment of academic staff at various training institutions, members of the profession who were willing to impart their experience and knowledge to the students, monitors/examiners/moderators of various subjects, the SAVC, parents and various funders in our country. To the new graduates and new members of the veterinary and para veterinary professionals in our country, we welcome you all and hope that you will contribute meaningfully and add your voice in promoting our profession.
During the year, we indicated our intention of improving our website and requested inputs from the members. There has been tremendous development and improvement under the leadership of the administration in particular Mrs Lynette Havinga, and the website will be launched during the first week of December 2009. The Council will always be open to advice and inputs as we continuously try to improve our communication with both members of the professions and the public at large.
Democracy in our country has brought about several changes including among others freedom of speech, open debates and discussions. Whatever positive developments we have enjoyed since 1994, we recently saw challenging circumstances that could possibly negate what was achieved to date e.g. questions being raised on the independency of the judiciary, the Eskom debacle to name a few. Our ethos and rules are well written with constant updates to meet the demands of the day based on inputs from members of the profession. As the profession we should welcome debates and opinions from members of the public without compromising our profession. It is therefore appropriate that I should call upon all members at all levels of State or private sector to continue being vigilant against forces of disruption, corruption and any attempt to denigrate the image of the profession. I believe that there is no person outside the veterinary field who will promote and protect the image better than us.
Recent reports on the economic status of our country indicated that while the country was slowly recovering from the global economic crisis, there was an increase in the number of job losses. This is a huge challenge for our country and considering our aim to contribute towards food security and improved livelihoods, we need to continuously amplify our efforts. However, there have been calls for the veterinary profession to clearly indicate the common understanding of its role and contribution. Well, the Councillors recently debated the issue and agreed on developing a document that clarifies our understanding and contribution. I’m certain that we have enough expertise within the profession to develop a concept document.
I recently through the grace of the Almighty, recovered from an unknown illness with medical professionals being unable to diagnose the cause. Thanks to the family, friends, the Councillors, SAVC staff and colleagues for their support and prayers and I am again back on my feet performing what I know best (veterinary profession).
In conclusion, our sincere condolences to members of the profession who lost family members and we wish all members experiencing difficulties through illness, stress etc, a speedy recovery.
Wishing you all the best holidays during the coming festive season and may the Almighty bless you, your partners, families and institutions.
Dr Rebone Moerane
From the President’s desk
Congratulations to the newly elected leadership of the South African Veterinary Association (SAVA) in particular Dr Anthea Fleming being elected as the President of the SAVA. I am certain that through her dedication, leadership and determination, we will together continue to strive towards improving the image of the profession, promoting the professional ethos and the contribution of the profession towards improved livelihoods in our country. I also want to thank the previous president, Dr Clive Marwick, for his leadership and vision in transforming the structures of the veterinary association and hope that he will continue to contribute in future developments.
A number of educational activities took place during this term with particularly the Congress of the Livestock Health and Production Group (LHPG) of the SAVA and the 12th International Symposium on Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics (ISVEE) being the two highlights for our country-
The Congress of the LHPG was held during July 2009 in Mosselbay and was in my opinion very successful with excellent participation by the rural practitioners and presentations by excellent speakers who dedicated their time and effort to share information and improve the knowledge of fellow members of the profession. Congratulations to the organizers and again thank you for inviting me to deliver the opening address. While at the congress, I had the opportunity to engage the final year veterinary students and I was impressed with their willingness to participate in the compulsory veterinary community service.
The ISVEE was held during 10-14 August 2009 in Durban and I am informed that it was successful. A number of participants came from all over the world to attend the congress regrettably with little participation by members of the medical profession. Again congratulations to the organizers, you have made us (South Africans) proud of our skills, heritage and capabilities to host such a conference.
During 2-5 September 2009, our Registrar, Mrs Hanri Kruger, the Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Science, UP, Prof Gerry Swan, Prof Koos Coetzer and I, attended a seminar on Veterinary education organized for the SADC region by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in Arusha, Tanzania. The theme of the seminar was “Veterinary education in Southern Africa: Matching supply and demand” with the purpose amongst other matters to:
Inform statutory bodies and training institutions on the responsibilities of the OIE to improve quality and governance of veterinary services;
Initiate a network forum for the Deans and Registrars to share information on best practices, challenges and opportunities in the development of veterinary curricula and continuing education for veterinarians in the Southern African countries.
For the first time ever, the seminar indeed provided the statutory bodies in the region with an opportunity to engage on areas of mutual interest and one trusts that the respective countries will build on what has been achieved by the seminar in Tanzania and, work towards improving all aspects of the veterinary profession in the region. The outcome of the seminar is available on the OIE's website at:
In principle it aims to harmonize both the veterinary education and statutory requirements in the region, but also acknowledges the specific requirements or needs for respective countries in the region. Having listened to the presentations from various SADC member countries, I am convinced that it is indeed possible to work towards harmonization however it will take time as we deal with the various challenges and differences.
While various statutory bodies made presentations on the specific situations relevant to their countries, it became apparent that there was a common challenge indicated by our neighbouring countries namely, that South African based veterinarians sometimes fly over or drive through into neighbouring countries and practice or provide veterinary services without being registered or authorized by the respective countries. This unfortunately creates a perception that we are arrogant and do not respect laws of the neighbouring countries. I therefore appeal to all members of the profession to ensure that if you are intending on providing veterinary services or practicing in any country outside South Africa, that you contact the relevant statutory body to enquire on the requirements before you leave the country. We are also experiencing the same situation and our members have been vocal about the Council stopping such practices by foreign veterinary professionals visiting our country.
On compulsory veterinary community service, we thought that it was going to be quick and easier to amend the regulations to accommodate CCS, however, after receiving conflicting legal opinions we together with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), decided to follow the advice of the State attorney by amending the Act to ensure that we do not delay the process any further. The final proposal on amending the Act and regulations will be published for comment by members of the profession and the public at large.
One of the newspapers in our country recently highlighted the possibility that state veterinarians engage in a strike action in response to the slow pace of the implementation of Occupation specific dispensation (OSD) for veterinarians while other professions such as the medics and engineers have been attended to. Irrespective of the source of the article, allow me to thank the state veterinarians for not embarking on a strike action and instead chose to follow the relevant labour channels to address their concerns. I am reliably informed that a task team will soon be established to develop guidelines related to the OSD for veterinarians and the council will also engage the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and the relevant Minister on the issue.
The World Rabies Day will have been celebrated on 28 September 2009 with various activities organized in the provinces. I hope that members of the profession used the opportunity to volunteer and participate in the organized events and contribute towards promoting the veterinary and para-veterinary professions amongst various communities. While we participate in the World Rabies Day, we must not forget the World Veterinary Day to be held in 2010 and I hope that South Africans will this time organize an event that will involve public and private partnership and the event will be given the hype it deserves.
In conclusion, allow me to
Wish all students who will be writing examinations particularly final year students, the best of luck in their examinations and hope that they will stay in the country to increase the pool of veterinary professionals required in our beautiful country;
Thank all those members of the veterinary and para veterinary professions who acted as moderators and examiners in the Council's full registration examinations during the month of September;
An invitation is extended to foreign candidates who passed the examinations to a registration afternoon on 27 November 2009 at which time we will welcome them as our colleagues; and
Express our condolences to families and friends of our colleagues who passed away.
The Presidents message June 2009
The April 2009 democratic elections in South Africa was subsequently followed by the inauguration of the new President of the Republic of South Africa, the honourable Mr Jacob Gedleyehlekisa Zuma and the appointment of a new Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersson and her deputy, Mr Pieter Mulder. In his recent State of the Nation address, the honourable Mr Zuma highlighted a number of key priority areas which government will concentrate on.
As proud citizens of our country, I am certain that wherever you are in your chosen field of interest, you have already identified your role as a veterinarian or para-veterinarian and we are all looking forward to contributing in achieving the identified areas of priority. However, we know that there is generally an incorrect perception that our professions do not come forward with clear interventions as to how they will contribute. In light of this, I urge all members of the veterinary and para-veterinary professions, to send their ideas to the SAVC on how our professions can make an impact regarding the identified priorities. You can be assured that the council will in the August meeting discuss your proposals and once consolidated, it will be used to engage the new Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
We are almost at the end of the 2nd term of the year for most of the study programmes at various Universities and some of the students may already be asking themselves questions as to whether they will make it at the end of the programme. I hope that they remain positive and use all available avenues to catch-up, work harder and prepare for the tests/exams. As we will be going into the winter holiday period there will be some of the students without clear activities/plans during the holidays. If any member of the profession is aware of such students please sacrifice your time to accommodate these students into your programme to expose them to various aspects of the veterinary and para-veterinary professions in the field.
I recently had the honour to accompany the Chief Veterinary officer of our country, Dr Mike Modisane and his team to the 77th OIE (World Animal Health Organisation) conference in Paris, where a number of international animal health standards were agreed upon. While in Paris, I had the opportunity to
A number of resolutions were adopted at the conference and these resolutions will in due course be accessible on the OIE website at ( http://www.oie.int.org/). It is important for members of the profession to access the information particularly if you are involved in activities that may impact on the status of our country. One of the resolutions of the OIE is to host a conference during October 2009 on the Evolving Veterinary Education for a safer world. The main purpose of this conference will be to provide the Deans of veterinary institutions and key national animal health policy makers from all over the world an opportunity to exchange views on priorities for the content of academic courses that would enable future graduates to work in an international environment. The SAVC will participate at this conference and will be represented by Prof Gerry Swan and Dr Joseph Van Heerden. This conference will be preceded by a regional conference for SADC member countries and both the Faculty of Veterinary Science , University of Pretoria and the SAVC will participate.
Congratulations to SAVA with the inauguration of their new offices and headquarters and to the Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria for naming their library in honour of the first South African who qualified as a veterinarian, Dr Jotello F Soga.
The council recently at their last meeting deliberated on a number of issues, amongst others, the following:-
On behalf of the council, I would like to thank all organisations that provided the council with opportunities to address their various gatherings. This has exposed our councillors to members of the professions and also gave us an opportunity to clarify certain decisions by the council and to allay the fears that council is a monster only interested in persecuting its members. There are also a number of activities scheduled for the rest of the year, and councillors will be looking forward to attend the various activities and address members.
On a lighter note, I am sure all of us were behind the Blue Bulls as they won the Super 14 title. The Confederation Soccer Cup is upon us and we are aware that our soccer team Bafana Bafana has been struggling. Let us go out there to give them the moral support as I believe that such activities can unite our country and our soccer team could spring some surprises.
During the last quarter of 2008, our country experienced a negative economic growth with speculation of a second negative growth in the 1st quarter of 2009 (possible recession). Unfortunately this led to retrenchments particularly in the mining industry. One is however encouraged by the fact that agriculture in general still had a positive growth and I strongly believe that the veterinary profession still has a huge contribution to make in the agricultural sector. The question though is how both the state and private veterinary sectors can work together in maximizing their input in the agricultural sector taking into consideration the current shortage of veterinary professionals particularly in the rural areas. We cannot afford to work in isolation. We should harmonize our activities and ensure that all people have access to our services. Harmonization of our activities will ensure that
I am of the opinion that with this scenario in place, the veterinary profession will have various ways to handle the impacts of a possible recession while at the same time provide assistance to South Africans who are already experiencing difficult times.
On 12 March 2009, the Executive Committee of the Council had the opportunity to meet with the Minister of Agriculture and Land Reform, Ms Lulu Xingwana. The purpose of the meeting was to advise and update the Minister on issues such as primary animal health care; the status of state veterinary services; the shortage of veterinary professionals; veterinary training; the impact of crime on the veterinary and para-veterinary professions, etc. (please check our website under the Council’s Vision and Mission for details on the Minister’s challenges and Council’s updated progress). The meeting was a fruitful exercise and a number of solutions were identified and agreed upon, with the Minister requesting another meeting in the near future. In this light, I would like to request members of the profession not to hesitate to submit proposals and comments once you have perused the information on our website.
In an effort to reduce and solve the problems of lay persons or unregistered persons providing veterinary services, the Council jointly with the South African Veterinary Association (SAVA) met with representatives of various farmer organisations and breeder societies. Even though we had the opportunity to make it clear and it was agreed that only persons registered with the SAVC should provide veterinary services, we were appalled by the poor attendance of most of the organisations/breeder societies. We will however continue in our effort to spread the message and the members of the profession are advised to refrain from providing resources such as remedies and equipment to laypersons and unregistered persons in order to prevent such persons from providing veterinary services.
During February and March 2009, I had the opportunity to address and attend the congress of the South African Equine Veterinary Association, a group of the SAVA in Durban and the branch meeting of the SAVA, Eastern Free State branch. These occasions gave me the opportunity to meet members and discuss various issues relating to the profession, including updating members on activities of the Council. Thank you to the respective chairpersons, Drs Dave Mullins and Leon Laubscher for these invitations. Once more I would like to urge the veterinary professionals in state veterinary service to attend such activities so as to engage other colleagues and to share experiences of both the state and the private sectors.
During the last term of 2008 and the 1st term of 2009, the administration and several councillors embarked on a road show to all provinces. The main purpose of the road show was to
The road show has no doubt been very fruitful in that not only did the SAVC achieve its objective but a number of other issues were clarified with the professions registered with the council. We also noted the several challenges being experienced by members employed in the state veterinary services. This gave us a better understanding of challenges prior to our meeting with the Minister of Agriculture. Thank you to the administration, councillors and the Provincial Directors who made the road show a success. I hope that such ventures will assist in bridging the gap between members of the profession and the council.
On a sad note, the veterinary profession has been seriously affected by crime with the unfortunate death of our colleague Dr Paul Meyer and Dr Duncan Prinsloo’s wife. Our sincere condolences to the families that have lost their loved ones and may their soul rest in peace. While in Pretoria I came across a newspaper article indicating the theft of computers and equipment at about 7 veterinary practices around Gauteng . We hope that the veterinary professionals involved will recover speedily from the loss of their assets and, let us all assist in fighting such crime by not getting involved through purchase of the stolen equipment etc.
The council has also been recently affected by the resignation of two of its councilors namely Dr Dean Sim and Advocate Nomazotsho Memani-Balani. On behalf of the Council and the profession, I would like to thank Dr Sim and Advocate Memani-Balani for their contributions and unreserved support of the profession. We wish them well in their respective future endeavours. The process of replacing both councillors is underway and I trust that all registered veterinarians will fully participate in the election process in finding a replacement for Dr Sim.
In conclusion, allow me to remind you of some of the activities during the rest of the year in which we could make meaningful contribution to the society and profession at large
Thank you, Rebone Moerane, March 2009
From the President’s desk
Earlier this year, most of us if not all, were optimistic and enthusiastic about our plans and resolutions for the new year, thinking that we had ample time to implement our plans. We have now officially reached the end of the year and it is usually during this time that we:-
Look back and evaluate our plans; achievements, failures and unaccomplished tasks for the year; and
Re-visit our plans to develop new plans for 2009.
As members of various professions in the veterinary field, we have no doubt encountered several challenges and exciting experiences during the year. Some of the experiences included the following:
The global financial crisis coupled with the calls for new global finance structures, which also indirectly affected the Rand and our investments. Looking at the rate of re-possessions (vehicles and properties), one wonders how many of our members have been affected. We can only hope that if you have been affected that you, whether you are a veterinarian or para-veterinary professional, would seek financial advice;
The global fuel crisis; and although South Africa has enough food to feed its people, the associated escalating food prices in our country poses a threat;
We have seen recently that some members of the public prefers to look after themselves first before giving attention to their animals. This has increased the level of stray animals and negligence with some clients being unable to pay veterinary fees;
Acts of xenophobia which created negative perceptions about our country. Thank you to those professionals of foreign decent for remaining and contributing to the needs of our country;
The protracted periods in which it takes for lay persons performing veterinary services to be prosecuted and the failed prosecutions;
The shortage of veterinarians with the increasing demand for veterinary services in the rural communities. Compounded by the lack of interest of young people in rural communities to enter into the veterinary field;
The various congresses attended by members of the professions locally and abroad. These activities provided opportunities for Continued Professional Development and allowed members to engage and network;
Onderstepoort Veterinary Centenary celebrations whereby for the first time since the new dispensation (1994), the President of the country, honourable President Kgalema Motlhanthe, addressed the veterinary profession.
Besides the challenges experienced during the year, one is encouraged and proud that members of the profession continued to provide efficient and professional services to the South African public at large. We should be proud that members of the public are still generally satisfied with our services and hold the profession in high regard.
As we review the activities of 2008 and approach 2009, we as the Council will remain focused and committed to our vision, mission and objectives and we always welcome participation from all members continuously providing input and vigorously debating issues. Participation also means that members may seek clarification on decisions taken by Council.
It is the democratic right of any member of the SAVC to question decisions as long as we do not infringe on the constitutional rights of any citizens.
The decisions and activities of the SAVC was of course made possible by
The dedication and willingness to sacrifice time by the various Councillors. Some of the decisions may not have been popular, however I am satisfied that all Councillors read the various documents, consulted role players and debated issues until decisions were adopted;
The efficient and effective administration led by Mrs Hanri Kruger. To all staff members thank you for a job well done and we trust that you will use this year's performance as a benchmark for performance in future;
Valuable inputs from various organisations and individual members of the profession. To you also, thank you for your willingness to engage us and to participate in improving our services as a profession.
The Veterinary Council will in future continue to decide upon various critical rules and regulations, which will one way or another have an impact on the professions and individuals. While we appreciate inputs from various sectors of the professions, as the SAVC, we are generally concerned about the few responses that we receive from our members. I therefore once again want to re-iterate the stance of the SAVC that: Members of the professions are always welcome and encouraged to submit in writing issues of concern and issues that must be deliberated by Council.
The newly qualified veterinarians, including the veterinarians that have passed the SAVC examinations (as from 2009) would have taken the Oath at the end of November 2008. It therefore remains our mandate and task as professionals who have been in the field for some time, to welcome our new members and to assist them where possible, so that they continue to enjoy the profession and make a positive contribution in our beautiful country South Africa .
As we approach the holiday season, allow me to, on behalf of the SAVC and my family, wish each and every member of the professions a pleasant holiday, Blessed Christmas for members of the Christian Faith, a Prosperous 2009 and may the Almighty bless you all.
From the President’s desk
Education and Training
We are fast approaching the end of the year and for many students in the Veterinary and Para-Veterinary field, it is crunch time, due to the coming examinations; and decisions on which sector in the veterinary field to join. While one acknowledges the possible stressing period that the students will be going through, it is important for them to remain positive and focused and to use various stress relieving methods to handle stressful situations. On behalf of the professions, we wish all students good luck and success in their coming exams and for those who will become qualified Veterinarians and Para-Veterinarians, we hope that you will maintain the excellent ethos of our professions and promote our professions in your various chosen fields.
The knowledge and skills obtained by the students to date would not have been possible without the positive contribution of parents, members of the professions, various institutions and organizations and for that we thank all role-players for their unselfish contribution, dedication and support.
The training of Veterinarians and Para-Veterinarians in our country will always remain a critical goal to achieve and one is encouraged by the recent debates on the issue. The media and politicians have also joined in discussions related to the training in the Veterinary field. Recently we heard or read about discussions on the negative impact that the merger of various institutions has caused in our country (including the merger of MEDUNSA Veterinary Faculty and Onderstepoort Veterinary Faculty). Whether this is true or not, still in my opinion requires thorough debate with involvement of all stakeholders and role-players. As members of the professions, we must view the debates as an opportunity to influence policy decisions on the future training of Veterinarians and Para-Veterinarians in our beautiful country South Africa .
We cannot deny the fact that we are faced with a shortage of Veterinarians and Para-Veterinarians (e.g. Veterinary Laboratory Technologist). It is therefore prudent that we should at all times promote our professions in our various sectors and communities. I recently had the opportunity of visiting schools in my former hometown Atteridgeville, and it confirmed to me that the majority of people in our country still do not know about our professions and do not understand what we do and thus unable to value the contribution of our professions. I therefore encourage all role players to use this period before the end of the year, to seriously campaign and visit mathematics and science schools in order to recruit students. We must remember that we are always competing for the best students with other professions such as medicine and engineering and we will only have more enrolment into the veterinary field if we motivate and encourage young people especially in the previously disadvantaged communities.
The Council registration examinations took place during September and the Council acknowledges the efforts of the team of examiners and wishes to thank these professionals for their dedication.
Comments and Contributions from members
The SAVC has in the previous newsletters requested members of the profession to submit comments on various issues such as the identification of an Attending Veterinarian, Website advertising, Compounding of Medicines and Draft regulations on Compulsory Community Services. Thank you to the members that have to date responded to the call to submit inputs and I would like to encourage other members to still submit their inputs as requested. It is important for all of us to remember that the full Council of the SAVC decides or approves various policies, procedures and amendments based on inputs from members of the professions.
A number of our members have participated in drafting of various proposals for the SAVC and their contributions are acknowledged and always appreciated. We hope that in future, we will have an increased number of our members volunteering to provide services to the SAVC
I together with Dr Quixi Sonntag, and at the invitation of the Black Veterinary Forum of SA attended the opening of their 1st inaugural congress and posed a number of challenges to them amongst other matters how the forum would translate their objectives into actions.
Congresses, Conferences, CPD
During September I had an opportunity to attend various conferences/congresses such as the International World Meat Congress and Animal Health Technician Congress. I was in particular impressed with the organisation of the AHT Congress and the various topics covered or discussed during their congress. It is however unfortunate that only a few Veterinarians (less than 4 to be precise) attended the AHT Congress and in my opinion, both the veterinarians and para-veterinarians are missing opportunities to engage in various important aspects of the veterinary field.
The quality of their presentations has no doubt improved from the previous congresses and with AHTs generally being the first people to experience outbreaks of various animal diseases, it is appropriate that they should be respected as a profession and they could share their experiences with veterinarians and other para-veterinary professionals.
A number of CPD activities have recently taken place in various parts of our country. This is no doubt encouraging as it offers members an opportunity to gain more skills and to exchange ideas.
Onderstepoort Pan African Veterinary Conference and Centenary
The Onderstepoort Pan African Veterinary conference and centenary celebrations will be held on the 6-9 October 2008 with the theme “A centenary celebration of the founding of Onderstepoort, focusing on the impact of animal diseases on food security and the economic development of Africa ”.
The celebration is indeed appropriate considering
· The contribution of Onderstepoort and its founders to the Veterinary field in our country, continent and globally;
· The experiences of outbreaks of emerging and re-emerging animal diseases; and
· The poverty situation in Africa .
Well done to the various institutions which initiated and are involved in planning of the event and, we wish them a successful conference and celebrations.
In conclusion, allow me to remind you of our vision, mission, strategic objectives and theme of the SAVC (Food safety/security and animal well being) and hope that wherever you are, will continuously endeavour to contribute towards our goals and may the Almighty bless you, your families, friends and staff.
From the President’s desk
Dr. R. Moerane, President SAVC
June / August 2008
From the Presidents Desk
South Africa has since April 2008 experienced a spate of xenophobic attacks on especially foreigners of African origin and, to date our citizens, government, NGO’s and other organizations are still trying to deal with the aftermath of the xenophobic incidents. As the South African Veterinary Council representing the various veterinary professions, we would like to join other organisations in condemning the xenophobic incidents in our country. We call upon all members of our profession to continue assisting in dealing with the challenges brought about by the incident and to participate in the various healing processes among the affected communities.
To all our members of foreign origin, we as the profession and the public at large, value your presence and contribution in our country and we hope that you have accepted our apology as conferred by the South African Government on behalf of all its citizens.
The current global food crisis led to vigorous debates and discussions not only in our country but also within the SADC, AU, FAO and by the G8 member countries. One of the suggested solutions is to increase agricultural production. We know that livestock production in particular in the rural areas, is among one of the key sectors that both commercial and rural farmers are dependant on for their food security and livelihoods. As it is well accepted that the Veterinary profession is among the critical professions required to enhance livestock production and economic growth, through herd health, animal welfare and food safety, it is therefore prudent that Government in collaboration with the private sector work together in achieving the goal of increasing production. (An opportunity for joint ventures in rural areas – land reform projects, etc.)
Gala dinner, namely Dr Lesley Lunn (Soga Medal), Dr Ninette Keller (Young Veterinarian of the Year Award) , Lynette Havinga (SAVA Citation), Dr Francois Malan (President's Award), Dr Joseph van Heerden (Honorary Life-Vice President's Award) and Prof Bill Jenkins (Award of the South African Equine Veterinary Association a group of the SAVA). Your efforts and contribution to the profession is appreciated and you are directly or indirectly positively impacting on our future generation;
Thank you to
The 2008 Congress had an increased attendance from the State Veterinary Services and this will contribute towards an improved communication and collaboration between the State and private institutions. However, the attendance by the members of some of the Para-Veterinary professions was in my opinion limited and one can only hope and encourage more Para-Veterinary professions to attend such congresses in future.
Some briefing on a few issues still pending:
a) Compulsory Community Services (CCS) – the Department of Agriculture under the leadership of Dr T Songabe, met with the SAVC to discuss and agree on the draft regulations related to CCS. We are hoping that the Department will endorse the outcome of our discussions and publish the regulations in the Government Gazette.
b) Suspension (Section 28A of the Act) – more inputs were solicited at the recent SAVA Congress and the matter will further be deliberated at the next full Council meeting. The Council acknowledges and appreciates all the concerns raised and inputs submitted to date and we will tread carefully until we conclude on the matter.
c) Future vision for the Veterinary and Para-Veterinary Profession (KPMG study). As the SAVC, we are disappointed that we could not receive KPMG report prior to our Strategic session in March 2008. Even though KMPG had indicated their problems to us (loss of electronic data), the report is long overdue and we understand the frustration expressed by our members. We will continue to engage the Department of Agriculture on the matter in particular with regards to our dissatisfaction and disappointment with the delay from KPMG.
The World Veterinary Association is during the last week of July 2008, hosting the World Veterinary congress in Canada with the theme “One World- One Medicine- One health”. A number of members of our profession have recently briefly spoke about the theme, however we have not in my opinion as a country deliberated on the topic in collaboration with our medical professionals. It will be interesting and ideal for our country, to deliberate on the topic and to specifically indicate the implications in the South African context. I hope that there will be some of our members who will attend the congress and subsequently share the experience with us.
Lastly on behalf of the SAVC and the profession, I would like to
Dr. R. Moerane, President SAVC
The SAVC offices relocated to the new premises at 874 Church Street , Lisdogan Park , Arcadia in Pretoria on 1 February 2008. I am certain that for the members that have recently visited the new offices, they found them to be easily accessible and appropriate for the daily routine of the administration and for meetings related to our profession. Credit should be bestowed upon the Registrar and staff for the swift movement without interfering with the daily operations of the Council.
A number of matriculants have since January 2008, enrolled with various training institutions either to study in the Veterinary or Para-Veterinary field. While we all acknowledge that it will be a mammoth task for the training institutions to develop the students into fully qualified professionals, we wish them the best in their endeavours. I would like to urge both the institutions and members of the profession, to provide the students with all the necessary support so that we reduce the number of students that are annually dropping out of the training programmes.
During 16-18 January 2008, I had the opportunity to represent the SAVC at the OIE Seminar on Good Governance for Veterinary Services in Botswana whereby several issues that included the OIE policies, strengthening of veterinary services, capacity building on the control of animal diseases, performance of veterinary services tool and evaluation of veterinary services in the OIE member states, trade of livestock products and regional activities in animal health were discussed and resolutions subsequently adopted. The recommendations are currently available on the SAVC website and I found them appropriate in addressing some of the veterinary challenges already identified by various members of the professions and public. However the main challenge for all of us will still be how all role players (SAVC, State Veterinary Services, and Private Sector) implement the recommendations of the Seminar. I hope that through the leadership of the National Department of Agriculture (DoA), the relevant role players will be engaged on the said recommendations in order to develop clear implementation strategies for our country.
On the 11th of March 2008, the SAVC held its second strategic planning session since 2003 whereby objectives, strategies and activity plan were reviewed. Albeit the few inputs received from members of the professions, one was encouraged by the vigorous debates by Councillors and we hope that once the final product has been published, there will be further inputs received from other members. The outcome should be viewed as an attempt to translate our vision and mission into tangible activities and outcomes which could be used by all of us to evaluate our performance and progress.
The recent proposal pertaining to suspensions of members, Section 28A, prompted several different inputs and opinions from members of the profession. The Council is encouraged with the response to date and in this light we have decided to create further opportunity for other members to submit their inputs at the next Veterinary and Para-Veterinary Congress to be held in Sun City in July 2008. I would therefore urge and encourage members to visit the SAVC stall for further clarification and to submit comments/inputs. The details of the amendment are available at www.savc.co.za.
The study on the future of Veterinary and Para-veterinary professions conducted by KPMG, was not completed as scheduled. This unfortunately had an impact on our strategic planning session and the further delay will no doubt impact on various training institutions which are reviewing their curriculum and programmes. We have been reliably informed that the report will be tabled at the end of March 2008 and members of the profession will still have an opportunity to peruse through the said report and comment.
The economy in our Country is currently experiencing challenges with an increased consumer price index (CPIX) probably due to among others the increase in the fuel price and food prices. One always wonders how fellow colleagues and members of the profession (especially rural practitioners) cope with these challenges, especially if compounded by allegations of other professionals (e.g. medics) and laypersons conducting veterinary procedures at a fee, thus denying our members an opportunity to generate income. It is thus in my opinion appropriate for all of us to support one another during such difficult times, continue to vigorously guard our profession and to at all cost assist all relevant institutions in conducting their respective investigations against reported allegations.
Congratulations to the Onderstepoort faculty for their launch on the diagnostic imaging machines that they recently acquired and also to one of the councilors, Dr Joseph van Heerden for the conservation award he received in the Northern Cape . A number of the members of our profession had unfortunately fell ill during the period and on behalf of the SAVC, I would like to wish them a speedy recovery as their contribution is worthy and valuable to our profession.
Lastly, I would like to wish the organisers of the coming Veterinary and Para-veterinary Congress, all the best and trust that we will all attempt to attend the said congress. I invite all members to visit the SAVC stall at the Congress and look forward to seeing you and discuss matters of interest to you with you. Please refer to the roster circulated with this newsletter.
Dr. R. Moerane, President SAVC
I had the opportunity to attend various events organised for the profession during the August to November 2007 period; these events included the conference of the Southern African Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventative Medicine, the Rabies technical evening organised by the Northern Cape province and the mini-congress of the Free State and Northern Cape SAVA branch. I was astonished and encouraged to see the good attendance of these events by members of the profession and by members of the Medical and Environmental professions. Besides the opportunity to obtain CPD points at these events, colleagues made use of the opportunity to share their skills and experiences and exchanged ideas with the Medical profession. I therefore encourage all of us to use these opportunities and attend more of these events even after we accumulated the required minimum CPD points for maintenance of registration.
Congratulations to those members of the profession who received various prestigious awards and/or were appointed into various influential positions locally or internationally. Your successes translate into great achievements for our profession and you are indirectly setting trends and goals for the future generation.
A number of Veterinary and Para-Veterinary graduates recently qualified from the various training institutions in our country. Some of the graduates will be leaving the country to explore their careers overseas while others will remain in the country to pursue a career in the field of their choice. On behalf of the profession, I wish to welcome all new graduates and wish you the best in your careers. I am certain that the experienced members of the profession in the country are eager and looking forward to guide and support the new graduates in their respective chosen careers and, we hope that the new professionals will uphold our ethos and professionalism as highlighted during the oath taking ceremony.
The recent media reports on the possible ban by the EU on the export of animal products from South Africa have no doubt put a spot-light on the veterinary and para-veterinary professions regarding capacity and our ability to provide food safety guarantees to the public at large. The reports compounded by the recent situation in Delmas ( Mpumalanga ) raised alarms with certain sectors of the public being vocal about their concerns. As a profession involved in the food chain, we cannot ignore the negative impact that the recent events will have on us and it is upon all of us (State service, Private sector, Industry, Research, etc) to urgently develop and implement relevant strategies that will assist in regaining the confidence of the South African public and the rest of the world. We therefore have to in my opinion urgently finalise and implement some of the policies (e.g. Community service, Primary Animal Health Care, Role of the Para-Veterinary profession, Role of Private Veterinarians in the State Service, etc) that we on several occasions discussed. While the media report has no doubt put the image of the profession at stake, I am however, based on recent discussions, convinced that we all have common goals and we will put extra effort into the finalisation and implementation of joint strategies.
We have fortunately and/or unfortunately for some approached the end of the year 2007 and for some it might have been unexpectedly sooner than we thought. While looking back at the events of the year, you might feel that you experienced serious challenges or successes that impacted negatively or positively on your income, profession and/or family life. However irrespective of the outcomes, I hope that we will individually and collectively learn from our experiences of 2007 and become even better people in future. The majority of might be looking forward to a deserved break, holiday and good time with family and friends after the hard-work and sacrifices experienced throughout the year.
Lastly, I would like to thank
The South African Veterinary Council wishes you all a happy festive season, safe holidays and a prosperous new year. Looking forward to your participation and contribution in 2008.
Dr. R. Moerane, President SAVC
The previous three year term of the South African Veterinary Council came to an end during July 2007, while the new three year term of the new Council commenced during August 2007. The events led to some of the professionals who relentlessly served the profession being replaced by new councillors in the Council.
As the newly elected President of the SAVC and on behalf of the Council, it is appropriate and an honour for me to firstly thank all the professionals who served in the previous council especially Prof Sybrand van den Berg, Dr Clive Marwick, Dr Stuart Varrie, Mrs Susan Masapu, Prof Morkel Terblanche and Sr Roenel Kenyon who have been replaced in the new Council and to secondly welcome the new councillors namely Drs Glen Carlisle, Dean Sim, Dr Danie Odendaal, Prof Gerry Swan, Sr Alison Glen and Adv Nomazotsho Memani-Balani. The Council unfortunately still has mammoth tasks ahead and I am convinced that the members of the new Council will continue to work together relentlessly as a team, to achieve the goals and objectives of the Council on behalf of the profession.
During August 2007, the first meeting of the new Council was honoured with the presence of the Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs, Ms Lulama Xingwana, who in her address highlighted several challenges and tasks for the Council. This include among others:
v The need for continuous professional development and the inclusion of para-veterinary professionals in improving service delivery and primary animal health
v Improving collaboration and partnerships between the public and private sector in lieu of Animal Health (outbreaks and disasters)
v Linkages of Animal Health and Welfare
v Poverty alleviation and contribution towards the target of 6% economic growth in South Africa
v Role of the profession and its contribution towards household food security
v The lack of or insufficient number of professionals and the impact thereof on trade
v Policy on community veterinary service which is still being finalised
v The issues related to recognition of foreign qualifications and possible exclusion of other African countries
v Representation on the Council and re-assurance of the public that the Council deals effectively with their complaints
The majority of the aspects raised by our Minister were common and in line with the outcome of the strategic plan of the Council which was conducted in May 2005 and I would like to thank the previous Council members for their visionary abilities in developing the strategic plan of which I am certain that the current council will continue to engage on in improving the professionalism, image of the profession and defining the role of the council in South Africa.
The survey and study on the Future of Veterinary and para-veterinary professions as conducted by KPMG is in progress, with questionnaires designed and circulated to various members of the profession for completion. I would like to encourage all the nominated or identified stakeholders and role players to fully participate and assist in finalizing the study. We all acknowledge that this study together with the outcome on Community Service and Primary Animal Health Care will assist in defining the future roles, training and services in the profession.
The profession has during the past few years engaged in several discussions on ensuring that services are accessible to the public at large. It is in this light that I am delighted to see that a number of candidates will during September 2007 be sitting for the examinations in an attempt to be registered with the Council and to be part of the profession in providing services to the public in South Africa . The efforts of the Education Committee, examiners, moderators, and institutions that assisted in the preparation of the examination are much appreciated and I would like to wish the candidates success in their attempts.
The 3rd-8th September 2007 was identified as a Rabies Week which culminated in the celebration of the International Rabies Day on the 8th of September 2007 . Several events were organised in various provinces and we are informed that the members of the profession and various stake holders which included the medical professionals, conservationists, animal welfare organisations, etc participated in the events. Such multi-disciplinary efforts will no doubt improve the image of the professions among the public and will also ensure that we reduce the number of avoidable cases (both animal and human) reported in the country and improve on the relationship between the Veterinary and Medical professionals.
Lastly, I would like to thank all members of the professions and various organisations that have to date made several inputs to the Council in an effort to improve our mandate and service delivery and I hope that such contributions will continue. The profession and Council still have several challenges and tasks ahead and I am certain that with the necessary support and contribution from all members of the profession, various organisations, Council members and relentless efforts of the Administration, we will together ensure that we achieve our set goals, deliver on our mandate and contribute towards the promotion of public health and poverty alleviation in South Africa.
|Last Updated on Monday, 08 April 2013 15:52|