Traditional Chinese Healers Association
Ms V Majalamba
Submission by the Traditional Chinese Healers Association to the Health Portfolio Committee on the Traditional Health Practitioners Bill [B 20 2007].
The Traditional Chinese Healers Association (TCHA) has reviewed the Traditional Health Practitioners Bill [B 20 2007] and would like to congratulate all involved in drafting the Bill. We welcome the extended consultation and the latest call for comments on the Bill and would like to propose the following:
1. The Bill must be commended for reference to all forms of traditional health in a number of clauses, but the Traditional Chinese Healers Association is concerned that despite Classical Chinese Medicine  following traditional health practices, philosophies and principles as defined by the Bill, practitioners are excluded from being covered under this Act (p 4 – definition for ‘traditional health practice’).
2. Although we are ‘registered’ with the Allied Health Professionals Council, they do not recognise traditional philosophies and training methods (master-to-student). The Allied is structured around the regulation of alternative and complimentary healers (e.g. Western medical doctors who have done a short course and practice acupuncture periodically in addition to Western medical practice). The people regulating us have no understanding of the principles underpinning traditional systems of medicine. This is being evidenced in definitions within the Act, which give no recognition to the traditional aspects of Chinese medicine, effectively altering a complex, ancient traditional practice to a narrowly defined Western practice, without consultation with people affected by these amendments. Section 22 of the Constitution stipulates: “Every citizen has the right to choose their trade, occupation or professional freely. The practice of the trade, occupation of profession may be regulated by law.”
3. We also commend
the Bill for recognizing ‘traditional tutors’ and traditional internship type training
(Master-to-student) – the members of TCHA are all trained and train under this
There is a global tendency to try
and apply Western standards to traditional practice – we fear that if we are
regulated under a structure that does not give due recognition to the
traditional philosophies and methods of training, this ancient traditional
healing practice could be lost to
The Traditional Health Practitioners Bill [B 20 2007] could without adaptation include the Classical Chinese Medicine practitioners, except for the fact that they are currently supposed to be registered under the Allied Health Professionals Act and therefore excluded.
The Bill states:
To establish the Interim Traditional Health Practitioners Council of South Africa; to provide for a regulatory framework to ensure the efficacy, safety and quality of traditional health care services; to provide for the management and control over the registration, training and conduct of practitioners, students and specified categories in the traditional health practitioners profession; and to provide for matters connected therewith.
Traditional Chinese Healers training and practicing with
traditional philosophies should, according to the above definition be regulated
under this council. There are further examples throughout the Bill e.g. within
the definitions, the Objects of the Bill (p26), etc. There is however no such
recognition of the traditional philosophies or training within the Allied
Health Professions Act. If the Traditional Health Practitioners Council to be
established will carry the responsibility of regulating traditional health care
We would be happy to further elaborate on this or provide clarity if required.
Peter Siyata: Secretary: TCHA
Dr Jeff Lan: Chairperson TCHA
 It should be noted that
there are two different ‘streams’ of Chinese medicine both internationally and
There are however a small group of traditionalists who have followed a lineage “master-to-student” training, and hold ancient information passed down through generations. It is this group that needs to be looked at separately, as the traditional philosophies and training are not recognized by the AHPCSA and in danger of being lost. We have (as have a few groups internationally) called it Classical Chinese Medicine to distinguish it from the standardized TCM.