Hope for traditional doctors

Simon Nare

Simon Nare

It was like sweet music to the ears of Soweto traditional healer William Makhale when Finance Minister Trevor Manuel delivered his Budget on Wednesday.

A government has finally acknowledged the predicament faced by traditional healers.

For years Makhale has been knocking on several government doors seeking an audience on the issue of regulating traditional healers. None opened to him.

And earlier this year, like thousands of other South Africans, Makhale decided to send a contribution to Manuel's Budget tips.

To Makhale's delight his tip was the first to be announced by Manuel in Parliament.

Makhale had, among other things, suggested that money be allocated to traditional health practitioners, and that the health minister should instruct the South African Local Government Association to work with the healers to set up clinics of traditional medicine.

"Mr Makhale, thank you for taking the time and effort to write a 99-page submission by hand. I promise that I will pass this on to my colleagues," Manuel said.

"I think this is ground-breaking news for traditional healers. I can tell you I have been sent from pillar to post at the provincial level.

"Now I am waiting for a call from the health minister's office and am looking forward to a meeting with her," said an excited Makhale.