Mokopane medical doctor Jimmy van der Berg, accused of racist conduct at his private surgery, and the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) agreed that the commission will actively monitor his future actions and should it find that the terms of the conciliation agreement has not been met, the council will proceed to institute immediate civil or criminal action against Van der Berg or any other appropriate redress it may deem fit as determined by its constitutional mandate.
The two parties signed a conciliation agreement and Van der Berg apologised publicly for his actions when he appeared before the commission in Polokwane today (Friday).
Van der Berg said he was not aware of this conduct as his main function is to examine and treat patients to the best of his ability irrespective of race or colour of the skin. “I hereby wish to apologise to any person who has been offended by the practice and undertake the necessary steps to eliminate everything that may lead to that illusion again. Furthermore I also apologise to my colleagues for any bad picture this incident might have caused our profession,” he stated.
Among the recommendations made was that the respondent donates 48 hours of his own time to assist in a medical facility which caters for the medical needs of patients from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, free of charge, within three months after signing the conciliation agreement.
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Story and photos: ENDY SENYATSI