Cape Town - The Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) has been ordered to provide Professor Tim Noakes’s legal team with written reasons for their decision to institute a disciplinary inquiry against
Presiding officer of the professional conduct committee Joan Adams on Tuesday gave the council and its registrar until Friday at 16:00 to comply.
“The committee has the duty to try him fairly,” she said.
This after Noakes's legal team accused the HPCSA of playing "fast and loose" with the professor’s rights.
Michael van der Nest SC, for Noakes, said they could be forced to approach a high court to get answers on why he was charged.
He believed the preliminary committee had unduly involved itself in trying to find witnesses to testify against his client.
Adams said it would be a “travesty to justice” if the professor should be forced to approach the courts for the documents.
‘Ween baby onto LCHF’
Noakes - whose book The Real Meal Revolution promotes a low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) lifestyle - was called before the council after a complaint was lodged by the former president of the Association for Dietetics in SA, Claire Julsing-Strydom.
The complaint centred on a tweet from Noakes to a mother who asked what foods she should feed her baby.
Noakes advised the mother to wean her child onto LCHF foods, which he described as real foods.
The tweet read: "Baby doesn't eat the dairy and cauliflower. Just very healthy high fat breast milk. Key is to ween [sic] baby onto LCHF."
Van der Nest said the HPCSA registrar had refused to answer their questions about the charge.
The registrar told him that the professional conduct committee was empowered to rule on this issue.
When Van der Nest asked Adams to make a ruling on Monday, advocate Ajay Bhoopchand, for the pro-forma complainant, said while Noakes was entitled to these reasons, the appropriate forum was the high court.
This, he said, as regulations did not empower the committee to order the preliminary committee to divulge the details of any of its deliberations or any of the decisions it has taken.
Adams said the council’s failure to provide written reasons for the hearing was “astounding”.