President's message - September 2013

Dear Colleagues, the new Council took office on the 31st July  2013 and the day was used for our induction followed by the election of office bearers for the different committees of the South African Veterinary Council.  The new Councillors also sat in attendance of the final meeting of the outgoing Council held on the 30th July 2013. The Registrar and her team continued the induction by introducing themselves and also outlining roles and responsibilities in relation to the various committees.  We are grateful to the outgoing Council and the staff for the time spent over the two days.

The committees of the SAVC are very critical to operations as they handle various matters presented to Council for its consideration and then report to full Council for ratification. The efficient running of the committees backed by an efficient administration will ensure the smooth running of the SAVC. To this extent, we would like to point out to all members and stakeholders intending to put matters before Council to target specific meetings of the committee with a mandate to attend to such a matter.  The Registrar and her team will review the website to ensure that it carries sufficient information on the committees and their responsibilities and thus giving guidance on which committee would be relevant for any matter that you might have to put before Council. The purpose is to ensure streamlining of the processing of work within Council and avoid matters being put before full Council without due consideration by the specific committee.

The induction alluded to above, proved crucial to ensure a seamless transition and handing over of the different issues that the outgoing Council had been grappling with including those emanating from their strategic planning session of January 2012.

The WRSA court case: The SAVC has been taken to court over an amendment to Rule 10 by Wildlife Ranching South Africa (WRSA). This action, despite the rule being applicable only to veterinarians and not applying to members of the WRSA.  The SAVC regulates veterinarians.  It suffices to say that court papers served on the SAVC by the WRSA have been responded to and that the decision on the matter is now vested with the courts.

Relocation from current offices: The SAVC is set to relocate from the current address in Lisdogan Park, Arcadia to a new office park once all the acquisition processes have been completed.  This is to ensure that staff can be accommodated in spaces that will allow them to be more productive, that Council itself is located in a building befitting its image and more conveniently accessible to members of the veterinary professions, but also to ensure that there is security and access control.   

The new building will also be equipped to facilitate the accommodating of meetings of the Council. Council has been hosted over a number of years by various other organisations including the Nursing Council, Pharmacy Council and  the South African Veterinary Association (SAVA).  These  organisations have been kind enough and availed their meeting rooms at SAVC’s disposal. For that, we are grateful.  Members are to be on the lookout for additional information on this important development.

DAFF/ SAVC relations: The SAVC and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) continue to hold regular meetings to address issues of mutual interest including the finalisation of the amendment to the Veterinary and Para-Veterinary Act.  Both parties also cooperated with the visitation by the team from the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) which reviewed the status of veterinary services in the country. Whilst we are earnestly awaiting the release of the report, we are at the same time appreciative of the proactive steps that DAFF are taking to ensure that its release is accompanied by an action plan to ensure that corrective actions are  being put in place where necessary.
The SAVC also attended the workshop of the 1st of August 2013 to consider the proposed published draft regulations regarding the performance of Compulsory Community Services (CCS). We are hoping that DAFF will heed the advice that many stakeholders put forward in the session towards ensuring a smoother implementation of CCS. We believe that CCS will be part of many contributions towards extending access to veterinary services, in particular, to the underserviced rural areas to the benefit of improved national herd health for better/ improved production and enhancing food safety and security.

A number of challenges however remain.  Of primary importance, the joint role played by DAFF and the Department of Health (DoH) in the regulation of veterinary medicines as well as the resolution of various related problems.  Our request for both regulators to meet and determine a more effective regulatory environment that gives better guarantees for food safety related to the use of these products remains unmet.  We shall be steadfast in further engaging both Act 101 of 1965 and Act 36 of 1947 to seek an alternative to the current system of regulation.

We are also working with the office of the Deputy Minister to ensure that we have him grace and address the next Council meeting of the 22nd October 2013. The meetings are necessary to ensure that Council also communicates both progress and in some instance the lack thereof to DAFF political principals. The Council does have the responsibility to give advice to the Ministry on matters relating to the veterinary professions and this responsibility is taken with the seriousness it deserves. Members of the professions are welcome to email us on issues that they believe should be addressed with the Deputy Minister.

IT transformation: The process to sharpen and enhance internal processes and communication through information technology continues.  In that respect, a tender has been issued on the website of the SAVC and in print media.  The ultimate intention is to ensure that you, as members, would be able to engage with your information (as regards registration) held by Council to update it as and when needed, giving real time resolution as opposed to current paper based systems and the concomitant delays and errors.  This would be via remote login facility that is password protected.  We’ll keep you up to speed of developments on this front.

Review committee: The SAVC has established a committee cutting across the different committees tasked with a complete review of existing legislation, rules, regulations and Codes of Coduct.  This new Committee met electronically (via teleconference)  on the 12th of September 2013. Members are invited to give input to this process.
(See page 9.)

67 minutes, SAVC staff: The Registrar and her team took time and heeded the call, as all of us should, of giving only 67 minutes of our time on the 18th of July every year, in celebration of former president Nelson Mandela’s birthday, to the benefit of others.  More than anything, this presented the team a huge teambuilding opportunity which will take them forward to deliver a superior service to members of the professions.

Threatened or Protected Species (TOPS) regulations: The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has published for comment a draft amendment to the regulation on the handling of TOPS species wherein an exemption is foreseen for certain veterinary services.  We are thankful to the assistance offered by the Deputy Minister, Dr Pieter Mulder,  DAFF with the various interventions he has made with Minister of the DEA on this matter. The SAVC is, however, concerned that the current proposed amendment does not represent any useful progress as it anticipates giving exemption to veterinarians for “treatment” only of the TOPS species.  We are collating comments and will submit substantive comments to the DEA in this regard. The collated comments and final submission will be placed on the SAVC’s website for your perusal.   All members were requested by sms to send their comments directly to the DEA.

Consultation with DHET on a second Veterinary Faculty: Council received an invitation in August 2013 to attend a session with the Task Team appointed by the Minister of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) to consider the establishment of a second faculty for the training of veterinary and para-veterinary professionals. The SAVC has compiled a document indicating reservations about the location of the second faculty as proposed at MEDUNSA given the close proximity to the Faculty of Veterinary Science, UP at Onderstepoort. We expressed the view that consideration be made to have a second faculty in a coastal location and with emphasis on emerging fields such as aquaculture. We are hopeful that the DHET will further consider inviting a veterinarian as member of the Task Team. The current team does not include a veterinarian and thus may not be better placed to consider all pertinent issues in this matter. We will keep you abreast as this matter develops further.

Rhino poaching: The scourge of poaching the South African rhinocerous remains troubling and that sometimes veterinarians are said to be involved, does our professions a huge reputational damage of untold proportions.  At this stage and up to the end of August 2013, in excess of 600 rhino have been killed and the number keeps rising.  A number of training sessions have been organised by the SAVA to equip all veterinarians to be of assistance in the event that they are called to attend to emergency cases and to save the rhino. Two sessions are planned for 4-5 October 2013 in Mpumalanga and 17-18 October 2013 in the Cape. Please support and participate in these initiatives at no cost!

World Rabies Day: This year’s World Rabies Day is on the 27th September 2013. Rabies continues to be a disease of huge public interest in South Africa. We’ve had outbreaks in KwaZulu Natal, Gauteng and the Free State. A number of human deaths continue to be attributed to this disease. All of us, in our respective professions and spaces, should consider how we can intervene to successfully banish rabies from our societies. Council has in previous years focussed on responsible pet ownership as a way of encouraging owners to ensure the routine vaccination of pets against rabies.  Clearly, we need new ideas if we are going to make headway in the control of rabies.

World Food Day: Members of the professions are further invited to join the rest of the world and celebrate the World Food Day on the 16th of October 2013. The theme of this year is ‘Sustainable food safety systems for food security and nutrition”.

The professions: The veterinary and para-veterinary professions still do not enjoy the necessary prominence within societies in South Africa.  Negative connotations derived from association with rhino poaching are not helping our cause.  I am told that we now have newly qualified veterinarians battling to find employment. The number of unemployed para-veterinary professionals, most notably animal health technicians, remains very high. Yet, we remain with the challenge of lack of access to veterinary services.
 A number of initiatives were previously considered to improve the knowledge of the average South African on the role played by professions in society. Most notably the “I want to be a veterinarian” campaign was embarked upon with partners. One would say that mixed results were achieved. Was it directed at the right audience and was distribution and reach broad enough? Shouldn’t we make such material available on our websites across the spectrum and even go further to give to the DHET and the Department of Education, the SABC, Carte Blanche and 50/50? Those are some of the questions that come to mind.

Our contributions to food safety and security remain an untold story. The contributions made to stem the tide of rhino poaching do not make headline news.  Many people do not associate us with food and its safety but rather with sick animals, disease outbreaks especially foot and mouth disease and the resultant closure of export markets - a very negative picture! One could argue that our communication machinery is much more effective at this stage focussing on what we as professions want to achieve and not on bringing societies into partnership with us to protect the national herd, our aim. The end of such campaigns remains a quiet affair and is never brought to the public!

So what are we to do? Ongoing efforts should be maintained working with all stakeholders to put veterinary successes and advancements in the public space and focussing on social media. The Sunday Times mentioned that we’ve reached 25% penetration of social media referring to facebook membership, I am certain that the Twitter numbers would follow the same route.
 Perhaps we need a focussed approach: using experts in such campaigns might bear more fruit. Can we work with people in the broadcasting industry (radio and television) to tell these stories better? Everybody in this country  knows the story of Dr Christiaan Barnard. Most people have never heard of Jotello Soga and/or Arnold Theiler, except those in association with us. As individuals, we need to remain ambassadors of the professions and learn to tell our stories, lest others write about us and in ways that we might not prefer.

Engagement with members of the professions: We invite members to engage their Councillors on issues/ topics of concern affecting them or the profession at large. There are a number of issues that are frustrating to members of the professions and Council remains at your disposal to seek resolution to these. It is through members’ participation that a stronger Council and veterinary profession will emerge. We have ensured that we put faces to the names of the incoming Councillors as well as their contact information. As far as possible, they will attend congresses and meetings of your formations to address and update you on developments within Council. Please use these opportunities maximally. Only through such engagements will Council be able to know of members’ concerns and  to then address those concerns.  We remain of service to you for the betterment of veterinary services in South Africa!

Boitshoko Ntshabele


President's message - March 2013

The statement made by our president, the Honourable Mr Jacob Zuma during December 2012 regarding dog ownership and African people, and the recent debacle around the unsatisfactory labelling of meat products in our country, created much media attention and stimulated debates within and outside our profession. Some of us were probably on holiday in December 2012 when the president's speech created much media and social media coverage.  We may have also been caught off guard with the media reports on the findings of horse/donkey/ pork meat present in meat sold as beef and not adequately labelled.

I am convinced that following the two incidents, most of our members had to individually deal with a barrage of questions from stakeholders, clients and members of the public.  The Council wrote a letter to the president (included in this newsletter on page 17).

My personal analysis is that:

•             We still have a huge challenge to convince politicians, irrespective of alignment, about the role of the veterinary professions in the country.  Therefore, the new leadership of the SAVC elected and designated by the end of July 2013, together with the various associations, will have to specifically focus on strategies to change these perceptions. We, the veterinary profession need to claim our space at all possible key events in the country where important decision makers will attend so as to use the opportunities to raise veterinary matters;

•             Even though we may argue that the safety and quality of animal products from farm-to-fork are not our sole responsibility, for the mere fact that veterinary professionals play a key role  in the food chain, we will be blamed and challenged for the ineffective implementation of systems.  We must take it upon our shoulders to challenge parliamentarians to review the systems in our country; and

•             Our failure to establish a joint strategy to deal with media on such issues has again been brought to the fore and if role players within the veterinary fraternity are not prepared to jointly  develop and fund strategies we will always be caught off guard, unprepared and we will continue to issue different and sometimes conflicting statements.

The control of medicines, including autogenous vaccines, is of concern to most of the members of the profession.  The Council managed to engage both the Registrar of Act 36 and Registrar of Act 101 respectively to highlight our concerns. The outcomes of the respective meetings are available on our members' only site at  Councillors will also visit the various groups and branches of the South African Veterinary Association to present information on deliberations to members. A recent newspaper article regarding the use of steroids in the sporting codes especially by school kids, has alleged that one possible source of the steroids used in equines, is corrupt veterinarians selling the products, which are not even registered for use in the country, to school kids. Is this true and/or are you aware of it? If so, please inform us.

A pilot project on inspection of facilities was completed during 2006 and approximately one hundred and seventy five facilities were inspected, with more than half of those inspected facilities afforded the opportunity to correct the shortfalls identified. The Council has henceforth decided that all new facilities, including facilities to be identified for compulsory community services, will be inspected. A plan to accommodate this activity has been developed, budgeted and approved.  Please make sure that your facility is registered with Council.

The Threatened or Protected Species [TOPS] permits continue to create uncertainty and confusion for our members. I once again want to assure our members and reiterate that we have raised our serious objections regarding the current regulations with authorities and politicians of both Departments of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). We are of the opinion that there may be possible positive considerations for our submissions and while the DEA is currently considering an amendment to exempt veterinarians from certain aspects of the regulation, I urge our members to abide by the current laws of our country and let us not create any opportunity for anyone to question our behaviour.

We appreciate that the Amendment Act 16 of 2012, which amongst other provisions makes provision for  the compulsory community services [CCS], appeal process, suspension of a repeat offender until inquiries are finalised and an inspectorate, has been well accepted and welcomed. However the implementation is fully dependent on the acceptance of the CCS and other regulations. The said CCS regulations are in the process of being published for comment and the implementation date will be aligned with the approval of the regulations.

Monitoring the standards of education and training is one of our key objectives and in line with government's priority to ensure decent employment and a skilled labour force to meet the required economic growth, the SAVC:

•             has been officially recognised and accredited by the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA) as a professional body responsible for the monitoring of the training of professions registered with us;

•             is on course with regards to the visitation to the Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria scheduled for 16 and 17 May [veterinary nursing] and 20 - 25 May 2013 [veterinary ] visit;

•             has as part of the Global accreditation efforts, participated as an observer of the Namibian examinations in Namibia in February 2013;

•             will sign an agreement with  the Australian Veterinary Boards Council [AVBC] in May 2013 to agree on the mutual recognition of the outcomes of visitations; and

•             two representatives of Council were appointed as observers for  visitations in Melbourne and Glasgow respectively.

The unforeseen recent postal strike has unfortunately led to the postponement of elections for the new Council and the election date is now 26 April 2013. Please don't miss this opportunity and participate by casting your vote as it is your democratic right and we must all ensure that the new Council is in place by the end of July 2013.

We acknowledge that there have been some backlogs in certain aspects of services to our members and the Registrar is working around the clock to deal with the delays. We have a number of appointments in the pipeline and welcome Mrs Ronel Mayhew as Marketing and Systems Administrator.  As part of the plans to improve services to the members, up to five positions will be advertised including the position for the Director: Legal Affairs. While we acquire more expertise to improve services, there is no doubt that the accommodation is becoming a problem both for the administration, our image and for Council meetings. The Council has therefore resolved to explore possibilities of moving to more suitable premises.

Our sincere condolences to the members of the profession who lost loved ones and

the family of the late Prof Paul Bland van den Berg.  May their souls rest in peace.

God bless

Rebone Moerane


President’s message – Nov 2012

The term of the current Councillors will end in July 2013.  Members are called upon to participate in the nomination, election and selection processes and to ensure that new members have been elected and selected to serve on Council as from the 1st of August 2013. The Council is not meant to be for specific people only but instead belongs to all of us.  We should be willing to sacrifice our time and effort to contribute in its operations. I therefore appeal to all members to raise their hands and be counted to serve the prestigious and wonderful veterinary professions for the benefit of the people of South Africa.  Included in this newsletter, is the information on the process to be followed in the election/selection of Councillors for the 2013-2016 period as well as a link to the website. Let us use the opportunity to participate in the process.


The Council’s focus during the past few months was placed on the implementation of the strategic plan to ensure that Council adds value to the services rendered to its members and the public.  Please refer to the Registrar’s report in this Newsletter and the reports on meetings held with various entities in an attempt to secure a better dispensation for the veterinary professions and the people and the animals we serve.


At its last meeting on 23 October 2012 the full Council had been honoured by the visit of the Deputy Minister, Dr Pieter Mulder. The Executive Committee and some of the Chairpersons of Committees had met with the Deputy Minister in February 2012 and the Deputy Minister was in turn requested to address the full Council and to advise the Council on what the Ministry’s expectations and vision are for the veterinary professions,  A summary of the Dr Mulder’s message is published on page ... of this Newsletter.


Full Council also on 23 October 2012 agreed on the appointment of Mrs Lynette Havinga as the permanent Registrar of the SAVC. The 5-year contract appointment follows the recruitment process with the assistance of a service provider (PeopleBeyond) as well as a performance evaluation of Mrs Havinga as the Acting Registrar. Allow me therefore to first thank Mrs Havinga for her dedication and for steering the ship during the past fifteen months in which the process of appointing a replacement took its course, to officially congratulate her in the new position and to wish her well as the Registrar for the next 5 years.


The Amendment Bill (Veterinary and Para-veterinary Act) has been approved by the National Assembly and thus it is now up to the President to sign the Bill.  There has been general support and the biggest task will be in the implementation thereof. The implementation thereof and in particular the implementation of Compulsory Veterinary Community Services [CCS] will be a challenge for all of us. Members received a sms alert to visit the website of the Parliamentary Monitoring Group at for details on the Council’s role in ensuring that the Bill has been adopted.  No less than four visits to Parliament secured the process.


How often do we remember to contact or to keep in touch with our fellow retired colleagues? I am absolutely bad at it and ashamed that my daily responsibilities have taken me away from making contact with my colleagues, We are so busy that we tend to concentrate on our immediate or current projects and responsibilities and neglect our colleagues who contributed to what we are today. Do you feel the same? Well you are not alone. Our retired colleagues may feel forgotten, neglected and lost to participation in various activities of the veterinary professions. However they can be assured that even though there is limited contact we will always remember and value their input in the veterinary professions and the development in our country. To all retired colleagues my message to you is thank you, and even though you might have retired from practicing your chosen profession, your inputs will always be welcomed.


The graduates of 2012 (both final year students and qualified professionals who wrote and passed the SAVC exam) will by end of Nov 2012, compete for various posts available in the market and will explore different opportunities in various sectors. I call upon all members to therefore provide all possible means of support.  In particular please support our newly qualified graduates in their respective fields of choice to ensure that there will be no regrets in their career choices whether in the veterinary or veterinary para professions and furthermore to ensure that we contribute in making these new colleagues even better professionals for the future.


We have approached the end of the year and it is probably time to take a rest or enjoy quality time with family or for some it is the busiest time of the year in their practices.  For those members going on holiday, enjoy the rest and travel safely and for those members who have to stay behind, keep the fires burning.

Our sincere condolences go to

-       the members of the profession who lost loved ones

-       the families of those members

May their souls rest in peace

God bless,  Rebone Moerane


President’s message – June 2012

 Several members indicated their dissatisfaction with Council’s decision to increase maintenance fees for veterinarians. Following various discussions including on the ruralvet internet discussion group an explanation regarding the increase was posted on the Council’s website.  Subsequent feedback indicated that the majority of members supported the necessary increases.  Thank you all for the support.  Please rest assured that the decision is in the interest of the veterinary professions.

The Acting Registrar, Mrs Lynette Havinga has been steering the ship.  She translated the Council’s strategic plan into an operational plan and commenced with the implementation thereof, part of which, has been the restructuring of the administration.  Two positions were advertised and two appointments were made namely that of the Head of Education, Mrs Leonie Westcott and of the Legal Administrator, Mr Thomas Modiba.  We have already experienced a positive impact on service delivery within the administration.  At the recent Council meeting held on 5 June 2012, it was agreed, for the sake of transparency, to advertise the Registrar’s position and we hope to fill the vacant position within the next three to four months.

The first tier of the 2012/13 budget and onwards is also available for viewing on our website and all members are encouraged to make input thereon directly to the Acting Registrar. It is critical that members make input on the proposed future budgets of the Council as finances affect all members.  The future expenses relate to the implementation of Council’s strategic plan and specifically to convert all information and data to an electronic format as well as the transformation of the Council’s communication and marketing strategies.

Notice of the Veterinary and Para-Veterinary Amendment Bill has been published and it can be accessed at: for comment.

The Council has on several occasions indicated the urgency of the implementation of Compulsory Veterinary Community Services in the country and we should therefore ensure that the Parliamentary process is not delayed due to a poor response from our side. Please ensure that you access the Bill and use this opportunity to comment as requested, but please also encourage other relevant role players or stakeholders to comment. It is also important to note that other legislation such as the amendments to the rules for veterinarians published in Government Gazette and specifically Rule 10 of the rules for veterinarians (Government gazette Number No 35414 of 8 June 2012 ) has already been approved for implementation and Rule 2 to be published.

The Threatened and Protected Species [TOPS] permit issue is still high on our agenda for 2012.  We wish to draw to your attention the fact that we may in the near future have to proceed with litigation against the relevant authorities unless drastic steps are taken to accommodate the veterinary profession as we have not made any progress in resolving the issue amicably.  The Council has obtained legal opinion to guide us on future actions.

The Council has been involved during the past quarter in several activities related to the fight against Rhino poaching.  These activities included tabling our position at the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Water and Environmental Affairs and sharing relevant technical information related to the health and welfare of the Rhino. Thank you to all members of the profession including other veterinary institutions which are actively involved in the fight against Rhino poaching and promoting the conservation of the species.  We are pleased to learn that the Council of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has approved funds for a dedicated forensic laboratory which will provide DNA analysis to enhance anti-poaching efforts in South Africa.

I attended a service delivery forum hosted by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Minister T M Joemat-Pettersson during which the stakeholders were consulted on her departments’ contribution towards the national goals as stipulated in the national government priorities (visit our website to view the documents). The general feedback is that stakeholders are satisfied that they are being consulted and will participate in the quarterly review of performance. However stakeholders are still concerned that the lack of the implementation of several ideas is the major problem for the department. We stressed the need for the evaluation of Veterinary services using the OIE PVS Tool [Tool for the Evaluation of Performance of Veterinary Services] and the department has committed to ensuring that it is done. We will continue to engage the department on relevant aspects and your ideas in this regard are always welcome.


Our sincere condolences go to


-       the members of the profession who lost loved ones


-       the families of those members


May their souls rest in peace


God bless,  Rebone Moerane

President's Message-Sept 2012

The recent acknowledgment by the Minister of Health, Minister Aaron Motsoaledi that the public health care facilities are in a state of collapse in the Gauteng province as a result of tender irregularities (reported in the Pretoria News, newspaper article of 13/09/2012) made me wonder whether the public is not perhaps having the same thoughts about veterinary services in the country.  When referring to veterinary services reference is made to veterinary services in toto and not only to state veterinary services. Veterinary services have, in my opinion, not collapsed as did the health care services in Gauteng.  However, the public may have lost confidence in the ability of the veterinary professions to provide services in certain geographical areas or in certain fields of the practice.  As you may be aware, most of us have been challenging the government to request the World Animal Health Organisation [OIE] to conduct an official evaluation of state veterinary services in SA. I am excited that at last the OIE panel of experts will visit the country to evaluate the status of veterinary services in the country during October 2012.  Thanks to the Chief Veterinary Officer our requests are now being met.  The outcome thereof will no doubt assist all relevant stakeholders to implement various measures to improve the level of our services in the country.


The Amendment Bill was passed by the National Assembly, Parliament in September 2012.  Several meetings of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries took place in Cape Town during August 2012.  The Amendment Bill focuses mainly on the Compulsory Veterinary Community Service [CCS] and the Inspectorate and the Bill was extensively debated.   The Deputy Minister, Dr Pieter Mulder, Council and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) appeared jointly before the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to explain the amendments in the Bill.   Only three inputs were submitted to the public hearing session of the Portfolio committee, including the input of Dr Riaan Du Preez, President of the South African Veterinary Association [SAVA] who attended and made a submission on behalf of the SAVA membership.   The Bill has been successfully endorsed by both the Portfolio Committee and the National Assembly and it has yet to be considered by the National Council of Provinces.  We have been impressed by the attention given to our draft Bill and credit must be given to all the role players involved particularly the Ministry,  Dr Mike Modisane and his team, the SAVA, the Executive Committee of SAVC, the Acting Registrar and her team and the state law advisors.


The implementation of the adopted strategies in terms of our strategic plan is progressing very well, and


             The staff complement   within the administration has been re-organised with the two positions namely that of the Registrar and the Data & Design Manager having been advertised;


             The IT transformation is being finalised; provision for this will be made in the 2013/2014 budget [only one member of the profession commented thus far on the proposed future budget as it appeared in the Newsletter 69];


             An audit of over 900 facilities has highlighted to us that regrettably a number of facilities have been closed without the principals of those facilities informing the Council thereof and, a number of veterinarians are still practising from unregistered facilities and/or have not applied for exemption from the minimum standards for facilities.  You will agree that this is unacceptable and therefore we advise members to ensure that they get their house in order before the commencement of the routine inspections in 2013.   Please also read the information on facilities in this newsletter.


In our previous newsletter, I indicated our concerns with regard to the Threatened and Protected Species [TOPS] permit issue and highlighted possible ramifications.  At last we managed to meet with the Director General, Ms Nosipho Ngcaba of the Department of Environmental Affairs [DEA] on 17 July 2012 and presented our position on behalf of the veterinary profession.  A presentation on the stance of the veterinary profession had also been presented to the Provincial representatives on 24 July 2012 by Dr Joseph van Heerden. Several positive proposals were agreed upon at the meeting held with the Director General and we will in the near future publish the outcome once the minutes thereof have been agreed upon by the parties.


Most members must by now be aware of the possible litigation by the Wildlife Ranching Association of SA [WRSA] instituted against the Council and relating to the implementation of the new Rule 10.  The Council will therefore refrain from further statements regarding this issue and deal with the matter in terms of the relevant legal processes.


Councillors attended a number of congresses which include the SAVA 6TH Veterinary and Para Veterinary Congress, Para Veterinary Congress, SAVA branch congresses and meetings and the Faculty day at Onderstepoort.  Congratulations to the winners of the various prestigious awards.  As part of our African liaison and partnership, we hosted a delegation from Namibia who visited to observe the SAVC's examination process and the Zambian delegation from the recently established independent Council and who came to explore the functioning of the various activities of the administration and Council, in particular the Continuing Professional Development processes.


Our Annual report 2011-12 has been finalised and was submitted to the Minister by 14 September 2012 for tabling in Parliament. Thank you to all who contributed to the various activities of the Council and to those who assisted with the compiling of the report. The report will be published on our web page for members to peruse and comments will be welcomed.


Our sincere condolences to


-              the members of the profession who lost loved ones

-              the families of those members who passed away in particular we have been informed of Drs Rick Peterson [KwaZulu-Natal] and Stuart Hargreaves [Zimbabwe].


May their souls rest in peace

God bless

President’s message – March 2012

The first quarter of this year has again been characterised by the negative media reports of the veterinary profession in our country as a result of the allegations against a few veterinarians allegedly involved in the Rhino poaching saga and/or illegal distribution of opioids (M99).

Unfortunately these reports lead to the questioning of the ethics of the veterinary profession by various role players. For the majority of the law abiding veterinary professionals who at all times maintain our ethos and professional conduct, the question might be “How do we change this negative perception? Well as communication experts will tell you, it is not easy.  However, Council and most of the members of the veterinary professions strongly believe that it can be done. We have to change this perception as we don’t have an option. Immediate interventions include:-

Another matter on which negative reports were published is the transformation of the veterinary profession and the challenged for the Onderstepoort Veterinary Faculty (UP) on its recruitment strategy. Our response has been widely distributed in the media, is published in this Newsletter and is published on the website at  Members who wish to circulate the page can visit the link at:

In an attempt to deal with the challenges identified by the Council and in preparations of the activities lying ahead, strategic planning sessions had been held on the 25 and 26 January 2012 and a few key strategic interventions were identified. Please visit the website to view the few identified strategies and your comments will be highly appreciated. We are committed to ensure that we achieve the utmost professional performance and standards and, it is any member’s right with respect in mind to demand adequate services from the Council. However to deliver on the expected mandate, it is evident that the current financial resources are inadequate and require urgent review. An article in this regard has been included in this Newsletter for your information and comment.

 A meeting was held in February 2012 with various role players such as the Deputy Minister (DM) of Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Registrar of Act 101, Registrar of Act 36, to discuss among others-

  • The Threatened or Protected Species [TOPS] permit issue – through the intervention of the DM, the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs has agreed to meet with us on the issue but we are still awaiting confirmation of the date for such a meeting;
  • The status of state veterinary services, concerns relating to various animal disease outbreaks and the negative impact it has on food security in the country. The promise from the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries [DAFF] is to seriously consider applying to the World Organisation on Animal Health (OIE) for an evaluation of veterinary services using the PVS tool. This is a positive development and we are looking forward in partnering DAFF to complete the survey/exercise;
  • The use and control of veterinary medicines; and
  • Appointment of unregistered persons to render veterinary or para veterinary services.

 Councillors have been presenting talks at various congresses (South African Equine Veterinary Association [SAEVA] a group of the SAVA, the Wildlife group, Pig Veterinary Society, Livestock Health and Production Group [LHPG] and will present at the SAVA KZN, Johannesburg and Pretoria branch meetings) to brief members on the recent developments regarding all the issues above as well as on questions relevant to the groups. I wish to thank the Chairpersons and organisers of the various meetings/congresses for affording the Council an opportunity to speak at such gatherings and to listen to viewpoints of our members.

 Our sincere condolences to

-       the members of the profession who lost loved ones

-       and the families

May their sole rest in peace

 God bless, Rebone Moerane


President's Message, November 2011

We are in the last quarter of the year with some members already looking forward to taking leave to relax and recuperate from the hard work delivered during the year. Thank you to all members for the dedicated services to the veterinary professions and the public at large. I am convinced that even though our professions still needs to be given the recognition it deserves, you have in one way or another contributed to the animal health and well-being, food security and human health in the country.

 Our sincere gratitude to all the training institutions involved with the training of the veterinary professions and the respective veterinary professionals and para professionals who contributed towards the development of our new graduates including members who wrote the Council's registration examinations. Your contribution towards increasing the number of the required veterinary professionals and para professionals and the research output to impact on the identified priorities in the country is acknowledged. There are vast opportunities for our new graduates and registered professionals to deliver services and to gain experience in the field. I appeal to the experienced members of our professions to provide opportunities and support structures for the new graduates and /or new registered members.

 During the recent court appearance of two non-South Africans of Asian origin on the Rhino poaching allegation, the SABC 2 news again reported the involvement of veterinarians without clear evidence.  My initial response at the time was to consider legal action (interdict) against the SABC for generally tarnishing the image of the veterinary profession. However, on second thought, I decided to cool down and rather await the outcome of the court case. The challenge for us is that-

 -The involvement of a few (in my opinion less than 0,05%) veterinarians are creating an impression that the veterinary profession is generally involved in illegal activities;

 -It is true that there are indeed a few veterinarians involved and some colleagues might have been aware of the activities of their colleagues but were afraid to report them or didn't see the need to report their colleagues to the Council;

-Once a veterinarian has been arrested and charged by the National Prosecuting Authority [NPA], it takes long for the legal processes to be complete;

even those implemented by the Council take long.

However, we want to assure the profession that the Council has been working hard to fast-track the disciplinary processes and to find the means to deal effectively with the colleagues who are involved in illegal activities. The inspectorate has already been piloted and we are certain that with your full support, we will ultimately deal with your concerns.

As part of the review of our planning and activities for 2012-13, the Council will have a strategic session at the end of January 2012 instead of in the middle of the year as in the past. 

The outcome of our deliberations might have an influence on the organogram of the administration and we have decided to delay the appointment of the new Registrar until the process has been finalised. Mrs Lynette Havinga will be the acting Registrar until a new registrar has been appointed. A consultant was appointed by Council to assist with the investigation of various human resource issues within the Council and the administration and, various positive and negative aspects were identified. The negative issues are currently being dealt with and some might take longer to resolve than what had been anticipated.

I therefore appeal to members to re-look the current objectives and activities and to forward your proposals or ideas directly to me, a Councillor or to the Acting Registrar by the end of the 1st week in January 2012. The proposals could include issues such as

-What you consider as the positive things that Council are doing right?;

-What could be improved?; and

-What should be discarded?

Remember that we can only plan ahead effectively with the benefit of our members'  inputs. The SAVC belongs to you the veterinary professions and it does not belong to the Councillors or to the administration. We only make decisions, implement and facilitate decisions based on your inputs.   

A team comprising of representatives of the SAVC and SAVA, recently met with the National Commissioner of the Consumer Protection Act to seek clarity and to establish a working relationship with the office of the Commissioner. Their report or feedback is included in this newsletter and more input will be appreciated to assist the team to further engage a work group of the Commissioner. There are in my opinion, certain statements from the Commissioner which might have serious implications for the profession. We therefore need to consider the report seriously and where possible seek legal advice to ensure that members are well protected going forward without compromising services and/ or the consumers' rights.

The members of the Executive Committee has ultimately managed to engage the Ministry (DAFF) and has regular contact with the office of the Deputy Minister, Dr Pieter Mulder who has been mandated to deal with issues of the SAVC. The most important issues affecting the profession were tabled which include-

-Amendments to the Act/ regulations/rules;

-The Threatened or Protected Species [TOPS] permit issue with the Department of Environmental Affairs;

-Synchronisation of other S A legislation with our Act [ Medicines Act, Act 101 of 1965;

 Act  36 of 1947];

-Food Safety and Security  matters;

 -Concerns relating to the  delivery of state  veterinary  services in the country;

 -Training of animal health technicians;

and the proposed inspectorate.


In this approaching festive Season, we wish to extend our sincere condolences to -the members of the profession who lost loved ones;

-the families of Dr Louis Schwalbach and his wife, and Dr Ludwe Ramsay Ngaka;

-our staff member Ms J Manabile (her mother passed away during October 2011).   May their souls rest in peace.

-the families of Dr Lodewyk Le Grange and Dr Hendrik Botha;

We wish to congratulate Dr Clive Marwick who has been appointed the African Councillor on the Council of the World Veterinary Association.

In conclusion, I wish you all a happy festive season and let us all look forward to a positive 2012.


God bless

Rebone Moerane



President's Message, September 2011

Veterinary professionals from all corners of the world will attend or have attended the 30th World Veterinary Congress in South Africa from the 10th-14th October 2011 by the time you receive this Newsletter. How fortunate we have been to host such a momentous occasion when we are all celebrating the World Veterinary Year with our beautiful country chosen for the closing ceremony.  I hope that in one way or another, all members of the profession in the country participated, had an opportunity to network, benefitted from the various presentations and used the opportunity to promote the veterinary professions particularly in the rural areas of our country. 

Speaking of the celebrations held during the World Veterinary Year, I have been humbled by the efforts of various members of the Joint Public Relations committee (consisting of the SAVC, Black Veterinary Forum,  the Faculty of Veterinary Science,UP, South African Veterinary Association, Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute, North-West University, University of SA, Veterinary Nursing Association of SA, Tshwane University of Technology,  the SA Association of Animal Health Technicians and students) in promoting the various events and professions in the country. The commitment by all stakeholders prove that irrespective of our institutional mandates, together we can achieve the goal to promote the profession and enlighten the public on the contributions of the veterinary professions to secure and advance animal health and animal well-being, human health and food security in the country.  A communication strategy has been developed and the various activities will continue beyond the closing ceremony in October 2011. I therefore still encourage all members to inform themselves about the various activities and to initiate many more activities throughout the country. Well done to everyone!

During the term, I and /or members of the Executive Committee and Councillors had the opportunity to attend various meetings on behalf of the Council as follows:

A workshop organised by Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries [DAFF] to discuss the future of veterinary services in the country. Various institutions were invited to the workshop and the discussions were frank.  The  state veterinary services acknowledged the various challenges in the country  and developed excellent ideas on solving the problems. The main task for them though, will be whether these ideas are implemented urgently to improve the standards of state veterinary services in the country.

During the term, I and /or members of the Executive Committee and Councillors had the opportunity to attend various meetings on behalf of the Council as follows:

A workshop organised by Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries [DAFF] to discuss the future of veterinary services in the country. Various institutions were invited to the workshop and the discussions were frank.  The  state veterinary services acknowledged the various challenges in the country  and developed excellent ideas on solving the problems. The main task for them though, will be whether these ideas are implemented urgently to improve the standards of state veterinary services in the country.

The meeting was followed by a meeting held on 10 August 2011 between the Executive Committee of the SAVC and the Deputy Minister (DM) of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Dr Pieter Mulder at which meeting several burning issues affecting the veterinary professions were discussed including some of the outcomes of the workshop. You will recall that the SAVC had tried for the past 2 years to meet with the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries without success and we are delighted that following on the meeting held with the Deputy Minister being mandated as our Minister, we are able to now build relationships whereby our concerns and advice to government can be frankly discussed. We will continue to engage DAFF on their commitments including the Deputy Minister on the outcome of the meetings.

Animal Health Forum [AHF] meetings were attended at which the activities of the forum were resuscitated and a new constitution and objectives were adopted (see our website for the outcome). I am confident that with the regular meetings between representatives of DAFF and the AHF, the veterinary services in the country can be improved and all stakeholders will be benefitted.

Joint Public Relations committee meetings took place and a communication strategy for the veterinary professions was adopted and various activities agreed upon (see the website for the outcome); and

The Council engaged students at NWU and UNISA. Thank you to all colleagues who made the meetings possible. For the first time, students who are enrolled for diplomas/degrees in animal health have been exposed to the Council at grass roots level. The students were informed on the rules pertaining to students and animal health technicians and we discussed the various opportunities available to them and their role in society.

During the month of July 2011 members of the public were encouraged to participate in various activities to celebrate Mandela's 67 minutes in honour of our country's Hero, former President, Nelson Mandela. I hope that we all in our respective areas contributed towards the initiative. Well, the administration had their share in celebrating giving 67 minutes to the less advantaged (see pictures). I so wish that we can continuously contribute throughout the year to change and fight hunger, poverty and joblessness in the country. Well done, to everyone, hero's and role models to many people.

With the resignation of the Registrar, Ms CE Pienaar on 15 July 2011, the full Council held an urgent meeting to deliberate on the matter and to plan on the way-forward and the following was resolved:-

To appoint Mrs Lynette Havinga as acting Registrar until further notice;

To appoint a human resource company to assist the Council with various human resource matters. The mandate included the investigation into various allegations, evaluation of the Council's human resource policies and review the structure (organogram) based on our mandate, strategies and the job descriptions of various staff members.

A consulting firm was  subsequently appointed and their report will be considered during the full Councilmeeting to be held on 25 October 2011.

It has been a difficult period for staff members and the Councillors, however the members can rest assured that measures will be implemented to ensure that the focus on meeting our mandate and serving the veterinary professions is not lost. I therefore would like to apologise on behalf of the administration and the Council for any inconvenience experienced by members of the professions during the past term.

Until the next term. God Bless

Rebone Moerane



President's Message, June 2011

The end of the year approaches with so much still to be accomplished!  South Africans again demonstrated their respect for the constitution by ensuring that there were peaceful local government elections held on the 18th May 2011. I hope that you all voted and participated during the process.

In its efforts to develop a long term plan for South Africa (vision 2030), the National Planning Commission (NPC) released a diagnostic report on the challenges facing our country.  Two main strategic issues have been identified namely reduction of poverty and inequality.  The ten most important challenges have been identified.  Some of the major challenges identified are that too few South Africans are employed and the quality of education for most black people remains poor. 

The report is available at  OR please visit the link at:

The veterinary professions play an important part in food safety and security and we note that food safety and security has not been specifically addressed in the Vision of the NPC.  The NPC report no doubt is frank about the challenges and I urge all members of the profession and passionate citizens to read the report.  You may have different ideas on other issues and on how we could improve service delivery as a country.  However, I would appreciate it that you in addition to sending in your suggestions on how the country could deal with the identified challenges, you specifically highlight how we as the veterinary professions can contribute to the solutions on the challenges.  Your inputs will be used to draft the Council inputs for onward transmission to the NPC.

The South African Veterinary Association (SAVA) held its annual general meeting on 24 June 2011 and the current term of office of President of the SAVA and some members of the Board of Directors came to an end.  I wish to make use of this opportunity to thank the outgoing President of the SAVA, Dr Anthea Fleming and her team for their vision, leadership and collaboration during their term of office.  Your contribution to the profession is well acknowledged particularly taking into consideration the sacrifice you made in terms of hours of unpaid voluntary work you dedicate to your profession.  We trust that you will continue to provide regular advice and input to the profession.  We also wish the new leadership all the best for their term in office.

Four Councillors attended five congresses during the first half of the year to meet face to face with members of the professions and to discuss matters that affect our members. We wish to thank all the branches and groups who received us and who made specific opportunities for Councillors to address members.  Valuable time has been spent with members and we wish to continue our liaison with the members of the professions on this basis.  We once again encourage all members to attend the World Veterinary Congress in October 2011 in Cape Town. 

We also for the very first time met formally with the Onderstepoort Veterinary and Para Veterinary Student Council (OPVSC).  This liaison will continue and will probably be expanded to other student bodies in the near future.  The main concerns of the students related to the process of implementation of Compulsory Veterinary Community Service (CCS) and communication related thereto.  We have subsequently been informed that CCS will not be implemented in 2012.  We have furthermore presented two grass roots student presentations at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, UP and the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) in an attempt to liaise with students from the first year to the final year of study.  These events were successful and will be continued at other institutions, the North West University and at Unisa during the remainder of the year and in future.
The World Organisation on Animal Health (OIE) recently announced the eradication of rinderpest worldwide. What a step forward for the veterinary professions and cattle farmers!  The announcement may not appear to some to be important for our country, however, can you imagine what we would have gone through had we not years ago eradicated the disease in our country?  I was impressed to learn that the veterinary students at Onderstepoort initiated an event to celebrate the announcement.  I hope that various state veterinary offices will also take the lead in the celebration of the announcement and bring the information to the attention of the respective political leaders.

The winter months are here and we had unexpected heavy rains in certain parts of the country.  We need to ask ourselves whether we have clear predictions on various animal diseases in the country? Or do we have an appropriate monitoring system with effective lines of reporting between the state and private sector? If so, is it monitored to our satisfaction and do we have adequate response methods?  We don't know whether it is functioning in your area and we believe you are the ones to provide the relevant answers, to bring matters to our attention and through collaboration we can ensure that our clients are well informed and implement proper biosecurity plans.

I represented the SAVC at a seminar in Bamako, Mali by invitation of the OIE on 14 and 15 April 2011.  The OIE Seminar dealt with the “Role of the Veterinary Statutory Bodies in Promoting the Veterinary Profession”. A major aspect dealt with was the need to strengthen the capacities of countries globally to create or maintain national animal health and veterinary public health systems.  The lack of veterinary private public partnerships in support of veterinary services in many countries has been identified. Members please read the Bamako report as published on the home page of the SAVC's website and provide us with your comments as to how we as the veterinary professions can ensure that capacity is improved in our country. 

We are fast approaching 10 October 2011, the date of commencement of the World Veterinary Congress to be held in Cape Town.  During the recent Joint Public Relations committee meeting, on which all stakeholders of the veterinary professions are represented, it became evident that the World Veterinary Year 2011 is already half way and there has not been many visible efforts within our professions to make the public and policy makers aware of the critical role of the veterinary professions in South Africa. The Committee is currently also working on new strategies to ensure that the Year receives national media coverage.  I therefore appeal to all members to become active in marketing the role of the profession, inform us accordingly of your scheduled events and to advise us of any possible means to promote our professions.  We have also as a committee embarked on a veterinary impact study and a survey will be published on the SAVC's website to solicit your input thereon.  The impact study has the goal to inform ourselves, the policy makers and the public on the role of the veterinary professions in the economy and labour market in South Africa. Please ensure that once we send you an alert via sms that you please take part in this survey.  The study will not have any value if everyone does not take part in this survey.  

Dr Anne De Vos, Chairperson of the Education Committee of Council represented the SAVC at the Conference on Veterinary Education in Lyon, France on 14 and 15 May 2011.  The Conference forms part of the Celebrations of the 250 years of veterinary education and forms part of the celebrations held in the World Veterinary Year 2011.  Some of the key messages taken from this event were the acceptance of the OIE's Day One competences (alignment of training outcomes) and emphasis placed on the principles of the One World One Health concept.
Two visitation reports as compiled and finalised by Prof C M Veary and his visitation teams on the animal health training of technicians offered at NWU and Unisa have been published for comment by the institutions.  These comments have been received and will be discussed by the Education Committee in July 2011.

The recommendations of the Education Committee will be considered by Council in October 2011.  Council received preliminary reports that there have already been a number of activities taking place in this regard inter alia the publication of an advertisement for a post at one of the institutions to ensure that work integrated learning of animal health technicians is implemented in a structured and accountable manner.   
Another visitation is scheduled to take place in 2013 at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, UP and we have to review the Visitation guidelines before the process commences in 2012.  Members of the professions are alerted to this process and requested to contribute to the activities of the visitation team and Education Committee of Council.

Many aspects affecting the veterinary professions are being dealt with by Council not least of all the issues relating to the performance of veterinary and para veterinary services by lay persons.  Together with services performed by lay persons are the illegal use of medicines and the issuing of prescriptions. We have for several years deliberated on the establishment of an Inspectorate and in the last newsletter we indicated that we were still awaiting the amendments of the Medicines control Act through the MRA to ensure that the inspectorate has all relevant powers. Due to the anticipated delay in the amendment of the Act with no clear guidance as to when the amendments will be processed through parliament, the Council recently decided to proceed with the establishment of the Inspectorate on a pilot basis. The inspectorate will however only have powers in terms of our own Act and time will tell as to how effective the inspectorate is. The implementation of an inspectorate within a month or two has been made a priority for the Council and we request all members to be alerted and to assist Council in this regard when requested to do so.  The logistics around the establishment of the inspectorate are being finalised and members of the profession will be informed once an inspector has been appointed.

The implementation of the Consumer Protection Act has no doubt brought its challenges within the profession. We are aware of the differing opinions on what the impact is and how we should respond as a profession. Because  of this, we have together with SAVA identified possible solutions to assist our members in understanding the Act and its impact. You will therefore in due course be informed on the identified solutions and actions.

The Council has been informed on the frustrations experienced by service providers regarding the slow response on the submitted applications for CPD accreditation. On behalf of the Council, I apologise for all the inconvenience caused to date and we have implemented corrective measures with immediate effect. The Council has also recently agreed on accommodating soft skills within the structured points of the CDP activities and the CPD committee has been given the mandate to further develop guidelines on how the soft skills can be accommodated.

The Council wish to inform members that the Registrar has resigned and that we are now in the process to address this void.  We wish to thank Mrs Pienaar for the short period in service. Finally we wish to welcome back Dr Jana Pretorius, Councillor and chairperson of the Committee on Specialisation as well as new Councillor, Mr Hiram Arendse who represents the laboratory animal technologist profession.  May your terms in office be productive.   Until next time, God Bless.
Rebone Moerane




President's Message, March 2011

The World Veterinary Year, 2011, marks the 250th world anniversary of the veterinary profession. The year was launched in France on the 24th January 2011 and a number of activities have been planned worldwide.  The main aim of this year is “to improve public awareness and remind policy makers everywhere in the world that:-

Our profession has been serving human kind for 250 years;

Modern veterinarians are not only animal doctors and animal welfare advocates but they are also key public health stakeholders because of their crucial role in reducing global hunger, controlling zoonoses, monitoring food quality and safety, biomedical research and protecting the environment and biodiversity”

In an attempt not to forgo the opportunity to be part of the global celebration, the Joint Public Relations Committee comprising of various stakeholders within the veterinary fraternity in SA has developed a preliminary 2011 year programme as a guide to all the various stakeholders /organisations. We believe that the programme can be expanded in the respective provinces (please view the programme published in this Newsletter on page 24). South Africa has unfortunately not yet formally launched its programme. We are working hard to bring on board the relevant authorities to ensure that we effectively market the programme and the various events. I therefore call upon all members in the respective provinces, both state and private practitioners, to finalise their plans and to ensure that we create awareness of the role of the veterinary professions by hosting successful events. May I remind everyone that we have in the past complained about the lack of understanding of the role of our professions and we now have an excellent opportunity to market our profession in the country.

The recent State of the Nation address and the budget speech highlighted a number of priority areas and incentives that will impact on us as South African citizens. The challenge though is how we as the profession will contribute to in particular job creation. A number of ideas could include-

Urgently create a data base of unemployed graduates in particular the animal health technicians and we all (both state and private sector) create opportunities for the graduates to be immediately employed;

Train more veterinary para-professionals earmarked more specifically for employment with private veterinarians to provide services in the rural communities;

Transfer knowledge to the rural communities to improve  production and economic development which could lead to job creation for the unemployed.

These are but a few ideas and I am interested to receive further inputs from the respective veterinary and veterinary para professionals as I believe strongly that failure to create job opportunities will dismantle and negate the achievements of our country to date. 

Since 2008 and following on the publication of the regulations related to National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (TOPS-Threatened or Protected Species), the SAVC has been inundated with numerous concerns expressed by our members about the impracticality of the current legislation and the proposed amendments regarding chemical immobilization of wildlife, translocation, capturing, collecting specimens and the permit system for veterinarians involved in such activities. There is clear evidence that the system is not practical for our members and it also contradicts our legislation and the Code of Conduct and Practice. The SAVC has since 2008 had on a number of occasions met with the relevant authorities from the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and put forward proposals to have members of the veterinary profession exempted from the permit system and at all engagements, we were given the impression that our concerns were legitimate and our proposals would be urgently considered. However besides our attempts to date, there seems to be reluctance from the DEA to speed up the process in considering our proposals. The members should be assured that the SAVC considers the situation as unacceptable and we will continue to rigorously engage the relevant authorities including the Ministers of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Environmental Affairs and Health to contend for the rights of our members.

The summer rainfall unfortunately brought about floods in certain parts of our country with a number of animal disease outbreaks reported. The recent report on the foot and mouth disease [FMD] outbreak in Kwa Zulu Natal has in my opinion and that of several members again highlighted some weaknesses in our animal health systems. While we view these as challenges, we must also consider them as opportunities to again highlight the importance of the role of the veterinary and veterinary para  professionals in society. What immediately comes to mind is whether we are effectively working together to ensure the implementation of the best animal health system in the country. Unfortunately my personal opinion is that we are not and my response is that  we are still operating in silos.  We talk but do not act on the identified solutions. Are the veterinary services and veterinary science in the country taken seriously and should we allow the current situation to persist? In my opinion the answer is a  big, NO. Will a possible Indaba on the animal health system in the country attended by the technically skilled decision makers including industry, leaders of the Onderstepoort complex and politicians assist? Maybe.  What is your opinion? 

I recently came across an article which indicates that the Commercial Banks in Africa are reluctant to provide commercial loans to medical practitioners as they are rated as being a high risk and if they receive a loan, the loan is granted at a higher interest rate (e.g. 30%). It has also been reported that the President of the South African Medical Association confirmed this practice in our country, whilst the majority of the banks have indicated the situation as being different in South Africa. It will be interesting to find out what the situation is for our professions.  We probably need the experts amongst our professions to conduct some investigations on our behalf to have a clear picture relating to loans available to veterinary practitioners.  Are there any members out there willing to take up the challenge? If so please contact us.

At the Council’s June 2010 meeting, it was decided to engage with students on grass roots level at the various veterinary and para-veterinary training institutions and a programme is being finalised in this regard. A few Council members and the administration recently met with students at Onderstepoort and I am informed that it was a constructive engagement session. However, one major concern expressed by the students is the progress on implementation of the Compulsory Community Services (CCS). The Council concurs with the concerns raised by the students as we have in terms of the proposed amendments to the legislation and policies, missed the opportunity to see the programme implemented in 2012.  We will highlight our concerns with the Minister and hope that the political leadership in the country will find the means to expedite  the process.

A number of conferences and congresses are scheduled for 2011 which provide us with continued professional development opportunities to improve and update our knowledge and skills. Without promoting any particular event, I urge all members to make an effort to attend the upcoming World Veterinary Congress during the week of 10-16 October 2011 as I believe that we can together contribute to the success of the event to be held in our beautiful country. I therefore also wish the organisers all the best in their strenuous endeavours to organise the World Veterinary Congress.

The new Registrar, Mrs Rina Pienaar took over the reins from Mrs Hanri Kruger as from January 2011 and some of our members have already engaged with her. I hope that we will all give her the necessary support similar to the support provided to Mrs Kruger. A formal farewell function was held for Mrs Kruger with attendance by some of the previous Presidents of Council and representatives from various organisations. Thank you to all who made the event a success and we wish Mrs Kruger the best in her new endeavours. One of our staff members,  Ms Getrude Mazibuko, has after serving the SAVC for 10 years, left the organisation to explore other career opportunities. We thank her for her dedication and contribution during her employment with Council and wish her all the success in her new employment.

Until next time, God bless you all.                  

Rebone Moerane

President's Message, September 2010

A new Council has been established with effect from August 2010 with a fairly representative number of previous and new Council members. It was again an honour for me to be re-elected as the President of the SAVC for this term of office during the inauguration meeting.   It was heartening to see how the members from the previous Council welcomed the new members and immediately exposed them to the working environment within the SAVC.  As I have already indicated in the past, being a Councillor is not a glamorous position, it requires dedication, commitment, sacrifice and an ability to be fair and objective in dealing with various matters that are presented before the Council.  I therefore wish the current Councillors a successful term and hope that they will always remember to take along the members of the professions in their decision-making process and continue to promote the vision and mission of the veterinary and para-veterinary professions.  Please visit the website for details regarding the new Councillors and committees of Council.

The veterinary profession has in the 3rd quarter of this year experienced an interesting and busy period which included two major congresses held respectively by the South African Veterinary Association [SAVA] and South African Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventative Medicine.  I had the opportunity to attend both congresses and was impressed with the quality and standard of presentations and by the CPD opportunities created.  Congratulations to all winners of various awards. Please keep up being the role models to many of us including the future generation.  A number of members also took the opportunity to visit the SAVC stand at the SAVA congress.  I wish to acknowledge your inputs and positive criticisms- you can be assured that your comments are always taken into consideration and wherever it is required, we will contact you for further discussion.

Visitation teams under the leadership of Professor Tubby Veary conducted intensive evaluations of the animal health training and prescribed qualifications offered by two recognised institutions, namely the University of South Africa [UNISA] and the North West University [NWU] this year and conducted on-site visits at the end of July and the end of August 2010. I took the opportunity to visit the team at one of the institutions and was impressed with the manner in which the team conducted the visit, despite the full programme lined up for them they conducted seventeen meetings with various role players, met as a team at night and scrutinised volumes of information.  I was however disappointed at the poor response from the professions (particularly from State Veterinary services considering that the majority of animal health technicians are employed by the State) with regards to submitting inputs to the team prior to their scheduled visit notwithstanding the numerous letters and notices that went out from the administration. Nevertheless I am confident that the teams will produce relevant and unbiased reports that will be debated upon in the interest of improving the standards of our training in South Africa.

The letters from the Registrar to members of the veterinary profession who have not logged their CPD points despite the earlier reminders, led to various responses and in general more than 80% of the members responded before the end June 2010, an extended deadline, whilst others managed to apply for deferment.  I urge members who have not responded, to do so in order for the Council to understand your challenges and not to wait for the confrontational approach.

During the inaugural meeting of the new Council and as its President, I received a formal letter of resignation from our current Registrar, Mrs Hanri Kruger with effect from January 2011 indicating that she would relocate more than 800kms outside Gauteng as the main reason for her resignation. We were all shocked by her decision as she has in the past 17 years dedicated her time and energy to build the Council to where it is today. She established a sound administration and ensured that the finances were sound with audit opinions accordingly. She guided the Council on numerous occasions to take the correct decisions and to avoid negative legal ramifications through her distinct understanding of the laws of South Africa and the legal fraternity.  She provided us with objective legal advice. You can therefore understand that the mood in the Council chamber and at the SAVC offices is one of coming to terms with our loss of an outstanding advisor.  I was personally informed more than eight months ago about the possible move and I had still hoped that through our engagements, we would be able to convince the family not to relocate.  Reality has now struck as there is no chance of keeping our Registrar in Pretoria.  The Executive Committee members of the Council were mandated by the new full Council to find ways of, where possible, using Mrs Kruger's experience and services and ensuring that there is a smooth transition with the appointment of a new Registrar. I am amongst those who have only recently managed to accept the decision and I am confident that irrespective of her location, she will continue to promote our professions and be prepared to assist where possible. There are a number of previous Presidents who could easily write pages and pages about her impeccable integrity, work ethic, commitment and sacrifice towards the professions for which we have not always rewarded or acknowledged her appropriately. 

Last but not least I dedicate this message to Hanri Kruger and on behalf of the Country, Councillors, members of the professions and staff, I thank Mrs Kruger for her outstanding service to us all, her family for their role and support; may she and her family be blessed on their future endeavours.

Rebone Moerane


Links to African Council websites

Veterinary Statutory Bodies in Africa

Veterinary Council of Namibia

Veterinary Council of Zimbabwe (department of livestock and veterinary services)

Kenya Veterinary Board

Veterinary Council of Tanzania

Botswana Veterinary Association

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