Let us regulate ourselves‚ say traditional healers

Traditional leaders want to regulate themselves.
Traditional leaders want to regulate themselves.
Image: File Photo

Traditional healers have called on government to scrap the act which regulates them‚ saying it tramples their rights to practice.

Instead‚ they want to be self-regulated.

Traditional healers are currently regulated by the Traditional Health Practitioners Act‚ which was passed in 2014.

"We have been saying that the best methodology is self-regulation. When we talk about traditional healing‚ there is nothing as important as self-regulation‚" said Phepsile Maseko‚ the national co-ordinator of the Traditional Healers Organisation.

Maseko was speaking at seminar on traditional healers practitioners' regulations hosted by the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural‚ Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) in Johannesburg on Friday.

"They [government] called us in 2016 to talk about the regulations. They brought a draft and asked our input but they did not take any of our suggestions‚" Maseko said.

She said traditional healers should not be regulated as they were born with the gift of healing and did not go to school for it.

"We need to rise up and fight against being regulated. This system is going to swallow us. We are in trouble ... They do as they please with us‚” he said.

The commission’s chairperson Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva earlier told traditional healers that it was time they fought against being dictated to by government.

"It's time you stood up and said‚ ‘We are a religion - it's time you treat us like a religion’. Let's demand the same treatment‚” Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said.

She said healers should enjoy the same rights as religious leaders and that traditional healing should be treated like a religion.

"There is no person who is a traditional health practitioner who chose to be a healer. This is a calling‚" said Thobeka Kentane‚ the deputy general secretary of the National Unitary Professional Association for Traditional Health Practitioners of SA.

"Where is a legislation that speaks to us‚ to who we are and what we do? We need to interrogate this act and ask what competencies does government have to regulate us‚” said Kentane.

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