The President of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has slammed the National Prosecuting Authority’s decision to charge paediatric surgeon, Professor Peter Beale, with murder.
Beale and the late anaesthetist Dr Abdulhay Munshi were first charged with culpable homicide after 10-year-old Zayyaan Sayed died following a routine surgery at Johannesburg’s Park Lane Hospital in 2019.
Last week, however, the NPA changed the charge to that of murder and added fraud to the charge sheet.
“The state alleges that he misrepresented facts to the parents Zayyaan Sayed therefore causing them to believe accept and believe to their prejudice or potential prejudice that the procedure performed on the child was necessary when results obtained from Lancelet laboratories revealed otherwise,” says NPA Gauteng spokesperson, Phindi Mjonondwane.
However, Dr Letlape believes the NPA is overreaching.
“It is extremely concerning to hear that the NPA is charging Prof Beale with murder because it makes the prospect of practicing of medicine in this country quite frightening. I hope the medical profession wakes up to the new reality that is being created by the NPA and we stand together to fight criminalisation of the profession,” says Letlape.
He plans to mobilise his colleagues “so that we stand up against the brutality against the profession.”
Baele is due to appear in the High Court in Johannesburg on February 19.
So far, more than 42 000 have signed a petition to have the charges against him dropped.
His co-accused in the matter died in a hail of bullets in Orange Groove last year.
His assailant is unknown and remains on the loose.