For immediate release
Johannesburg, 26 January 2022
SAVC welcomes the conviction of two people practising illegally as veterinary professionals
The South African Veterinary Council (SAVC) welcomes the recent conviction and sentencing of two women who have been illegally practising as veterinary professionals, placing the lives of animals at risk and deceiving and defrauding South African pet owners.
“These guilty findings show that our complaints process is working, and that the courts are succeeding in bringing such people to book,” says the SAVC’s Director of Legal Affairs, Dinamarie Stoltz.
“It’s very important for the integrity of our professions that such individuals are punished for defrauding the public, and barred from practising. South Africans rightly regard their pets as members of the family, and need to be protected from fly-by-nights.”
The first case relates to Roxanne Barnard of Brakpan, Ekurhuleni. Barnard was once authorised by the SAVC to practise as an animal welfare assistant at the Brakpan SPCA (meaning she did not hold any veterinary or para-veterinary qualifications, but was permitted to perform certain stated primary animal healthcare services, supervised by a registered veterinarian). However, her authorisation was withdrawn when she was dismissed from the SPCA in 2017, and she was no longer allowed to render any animal-related services.
A complaint was subsequently laid with the SAVC that she had set up a business advertising veterinary services such as vaccinating and treating animals, and prescribing medicine, and had claimed to be a qualified veterinary nurse. The SAVC referred the matter to its Investigations Inspectorate, XTND, which compiled a docket that the police submitted to the National Prosecuting Authority for prosecution.
The case subsequently went to court and Barnard was convicted on 26 October 2021 in the Springs Magistrate’s Court of contravening section 23(1)(a) of the Veterinary and Para-Veterinary Professions Act, No. 19 of 1982. In essence, this means she was found guilty of rendering the services that only a veterinarian registered with the SAVC may render.
She was fined R2 000, with the option of a six-month jail term. She now has a criminal record and is banned from applying for SAVC registration or authorisation in the future.
“This conviction underscores the importance of members of the public always making sure that they are using a veterinary or para-veterinary professional who is registered with the SAVC for the care of their pets and livestock,” says Stoltz. “If you’re not sure, you can consult the lists of registered professionals and practices on our website – www.savc.org.za.”
The second matter relates to Katharina Ott-Jayes, a foreign national from Germany living in South Africa. A complaint was received that Ott-Jayes was vaccinating animals in the Western Cape with vaccines that were allegedly imported illegally, and that had expired in some cases. It has been alleged that Ott-Jayes may have been a veterinarian in Germany previously, but even if that was the case, she is not entitled to practise in South Africa unless she is registered with the SAVC.
The SAVC referred the complaint to the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development to investigate, as animal vaccines fall under the Fertilizers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act, No. 36 of 1947.
This case, too, was referred to the NPA, went to court and in August Ott-Jayes was convicted in the Swellendam Magistrate’s Court of passing herself off as a veterinarian when she was not, in fact, registered as a veterinarian with the SAVC, and was therefore not entitled to render any veterinary services in South Africa.
She was found guilty of contravening the conditions of section 23(2)(b), read with section 19(2), section 20 and section 41 of the Veterinary and Para-Veterinary Professions Act of 1982.
Stoltz notes that even if a foreign veterinarian is registered in their home country, they still need to write SAVC examinations in order to become registered to practise in South Africa – unless they fall under the SAVC’s reciprocal agreement with countries such as Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom that provides for the mutual recognition of veterinary qualifications without the need to write, and pass, a registration examination.
“Just as we need to be protected from fraudulent medical professionals who can harm people, we also need to be protected from fraudulent veterinary practitioners who place our pets’ lives in danger,” she says. “We cannot allow the public to be taken for a ride by laypeople who have not been trained in the proper procedures and are not equipped to manage the cold chain required for vaccinations.
“Equally, our para-veterinary and veterinary professionals have spent many years training and honing their skills, and they do not deserve to have the profession’s reputation brought into disrepute by people out to make a quick buck by ripping off the public.”
For more information about registered practitioners, or to lay a complaint, visit www.savc.org.za.
Issued by Flow Communications on behalf of the SAVC. For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Khaya Thwala on firstname.lastname@example.org or 078 349 0668.
About the South African Veterinary Council (SAVC)
The South African Veterinary Council (SAVC) is a Veterinary Statutory Body in South Africa, with powers and functions for the registration of persons practising the veterinary and para-veterinary professions. The SAVC has legal authority over the practising of veterinary and para-veterinary professions, and for matters connected therewith.
The South African Veterinary Board, which is the predecessor of the SAVC, was established in 1933 in terms of the Veterinary Act (No. 16 of 1933). The SAVC then later became an independent, self-funding statutory body in 1982 under the Veterinary and Para-Veterinary Professions Act (No. 19 of 1982). The current SAVC, therefore, has a proud and rich history of playing a role in the regulation of the veterinary profession in South Africa.
It is compulsory in South Africa for all practising veterinary and para-veterinary professionals to be registered with the SAVC, as stated in the Veterinary and Para-Veterinary Professions Act. The SAVC is therefore the custodian of the veterinary and para-veterinary professions in South Africa, and enables the veterinary team to practise ethically by setting and monitoring veterinary standards, to create a safe environment for animals and people.