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Health minister concerned over impact of student protests on health sector

Motsoaledi says government and tertiary education leaders have tried to engage with protesting students.

FILE: #FeesMustFall protests sees Wits university shut down after clashes with police. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has warned that ongoing protests at universities could have a devastating impact on the public health sector.

Should final year medical students not graduate this year there will be almost 2,000 fewer junior doctors entering the public health system.

Motsoaledi says government and leaders of tertiary education have tried to engage with protesting students.

"If all leaders of the country, vice-chancellors, presidents, SRC presidents and other leaders of all the universities were there yesterday in a big indaba to try and resolve this issue, now at what other level should the listening be?"

But sixth-year medical student Masego Moema says it shouldn't be left to students to resolve the fees issue.

Moema says all stakeholders, including the Health Professions Council of South Africa, need to collaborate.

"What we would have liked, instead, is for all stakeholders to understand the involvement in graduating health professionals."

The Council warned on Sunday that the unstable academic environment could affect the registration of final-year health students.

The deadline is December and without this, graduates cannot practice as doctors.

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