Are there 200,000 and more traditional healers practicing in South Africa?
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Background:The promulgation of the Traditional Health Practitioners Act No 22 (2007) was guided to a great extent by the allegation that there were 200,000 and more traditional healers practicing in South Africa. This number had also reflected a great demand for their services. Regulation was thus in the early 2000s an immediate need to safeguard the public against malpractice of these practitioners. Aims: The aim of this study is to determine if the allegation that there are 200,000 and more traditional healers practicing in South Africa is true. Methods: This is an exploratory and descriptive study that makes use of an historical approach by means of investigation and a literature review. The emphasis is on using current documentation like articles, books and newspapers as primary sources to reflect on the thinking and opinions around the numbers of traditional health practitioners in South Africa. Findings are represented in narrative form. Results: The Traditional Health Practitioners Act No 22 (2007) was promulgated without applicable and appropriate needs analysis of traditional healers as healthcare practitioners by the public. The true number of traditional healers, to make it a viable and sustainable healthcare profession in South Africa, was never determined. The alleged number of 200,000 and more traditional healers was the untested motivator for the promulgation of the Act in 2007. Conclusion: The allegation that there are 200,000 and more traditional healers practicing in South Africa could not be confirmed. The true number of bona fide traditional healers in present-day South Africa seems insignificant. It is of great importance that the official registration process of the South African traditional health practitioners is fully activated in 2017. Only then will clearance on the real number of traditional healers practicing in the country be obtained and can constructive decisions on the group's future be taken.
- Faculty of Humanities