Home South African Meet the new Health Ombudsman: Professor Taole Mokoena

Meet the new Health Ombudsman: Professor Taole Mokoena

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Emeritus Professor Taole Resetselemang Mokoena replaces Professor Malegapuru Makgoba who bowed out after seven years in office.

Two men holding hands
Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla (right) has announced the appointment of Professor Taole Resetselemang Mokoena as the new health ombudsman. l SUPPLIED

HEALTH Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla has announced that former health ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba has been succeeded by Emeritus Professor Taole Resetselemang Mokoena.

Mokoena’s appointment has been effective since June 1.

“Professor Mokoena is one of the most outstanding South African medical scholars who has transcended the globe to show the quality the South Africans’ academic prowess.

“He is a medical graduate of the University of Natal, doctor of philosophy graduate of University of Oxford and a fellow of Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow,” said Phaahla.

“He recently retired as a professor and academic head of department of surgery, chief surgeon of department of general surgery at University of Pretoria and Steve Biko Academic Hospital. But he continues his work on part-time or on a sessional basis to teach, train and supervise undergraduate and post-graduate medical students and research.

Professor Taole Resetselemang Mokoena, the new health ombudsman. l SUPPLIED

“Prof Mokoena’s clinical and research interests encompass immunology, oncology and endocrinology, and he has previously been part of renal transplant units at Universities of Natal and Witwatersrand.

“He is active in academic and professional leadership circles, having served at different times on a number of national and professional bodies, like the South African Medical Association, Health Professions Council of South Africa, Colleges of Medicine of South Africa, College of Surgeons of South Africa,” said Phaahla.

Mokoena was also appointed to chair a panel for the investigation of surgical deaths at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in 1996/7, as well as the panel of inquiry into discrimination within the cardiology department at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.

“This track record gives credence to his appointment as the new health ombud, armed with experience in investigations and inquiries in wrongdoing and injustices in the healthcare sector,” said Phaahla.

“We are confident that Professor Mokoena will execute his work with diligence and absolute sense of justice, eschewing impartiality and with no prejudice to all.”

Makgoba bowed out after seven years in office, in which he reviewed more than 10 861 complaints. His term of office ended on May 31.

He was appointed health ombud by former health minister, now Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, in June 2016 for a non-renewable term of seven years.

“The health ombud is an independent body established in terms of the National Health Amendment Act of 2013, with responsibility to protect and promote the health and safety of users of health services by considering, investigating, and disposing of complaints in the national health system relating to non-compliance with prescribed norms and standards,” according to the national Department of Health.

“The health ombud is located within the Office of Health Standards Compliance, a schedule 3A public entity in terms of the Public Finance Management Act.”

Phaahla said Makgoba, since assuming office, has displayed his patriotism and commitment to the creation of an improved healthcare service in the country, by impartially, and with no favour or prejudice, investigating complaints brought to his office and made recommendations invaluable to the health system in the country.

Former health ombud, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba. File Picture: Ntswe Mokoena/GCIS.

“He was expectedly assisted by his long service and experience in the clinical care work, knowledge of the public service and the requisite needs of a better and durable healthcare system. He was bestowed with a daunting task of establishing this office since he was the first South African Health Ombud, allowing the country to follow the good examples and practices of other countries in ensuring that our people receive an improved quality healthcare in a modernized health infrastructure,” according to the minister.

“Some of the major investigations conducted under his leadership include Life Esidimeni involving mental health patients, Tembisa Hospital and the recent Rahima Moosa Mother & Child Hospital, which bear testimony to the intent to want to assist the government and the public to build the durable health system.”

He said Makgoba did not only attend to high profile complaints, but also spent huge amount of his term following on the complaints of ordinary people who visit the healthcare facilities.

“South Africa and the healthcare system is greatly indebted to him, and his departure is a loss to the system that still require a huge overhaul and deep reform. Although, we are glad that he managed to set up systems which we believe his successor will be able to continue with good work he left behind,” said Phaahla.

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