Friday, July 10, 2015, 10 : 20 am
Present: Dr Yumna Moosa (Intern in Anaesthetics at Addington Hospital), Ms Smangele (Smah) Shezi (Labour Relations Officer for HR), Dr Alicia Aron (Intern Curator), Dr Mark Maritz (HOD Orthopaedics), Dr Jonathan Fabian (Consultant Anaesthesiologist and Acting HOD Anaesthetics), Ms Jabu Mahaye (Orthopaedic Secretary).
The first part of a meeting held to discuss comments Yumna had made in her internship logbook and in an email to her HOD. (Recording ended prematurely when Yumna touched her phone while trying to find a document. The meeting continued for a total of three hours.)
[click on timestamps in text to skip to position in audio*]
Yumna: [00:07] Hello. Good, how are you?
Aron: Jabu, will you take some notes for us? Okay.[INAUDIBLE WORDS 00:15 – 00:28] [00:28] I think everybody knows who everybody else is, but let me just go around the room. That’s Jabu. Dr Maritz, HOD of orthopaedics. Dr Fabian, anaesthetics. Sma Shezi, labour relations. Dr Moosa. And I’m the intern curator, Dr Aron.
So the purpose of this meeting… We’re trying to have an informal meeting to address the issues that were raised in two places: one was the e-mail to Dr Maritz, and the other one was in the HPCSA intern logbook. Okay? Um. It’s not a hearing. It’s a meeting. So I want you to be able to be open and honest with all of us… Frank about what happened, and feel free to speak as you wish. Should these issues not be able to be resolved now, then the next step will be to have a hearing and so on. But let’s hope it doesn’t get to that.
I’m hoping that all the comments will be relevant, factual, professional, right, from all of us. And then just to talk a little bit about the logbook. The logbook is actually meant to give the HPCSA a reflection of what’s going on. So if there’s a negative comment in the logbook that we don’t addFress, it’s a poor reflection on the HOD of the department, it’s a poor reflection on me as the intern curator, it’s a poor reflection on the entire institution, to say that things are happening here and we are actually not looking at it. And it actually jeopardises our intern programme. So for us it’s a huge issue.
Yumna: It’s a serious thing.
Aron: It’s a serious issue. It could have lots of repercussions. This is why we need to look at it. Also, the comments that were made were very serious allegations. And as such, as with any other serious allegation, we need to validate them. We need to verify these. And if it means, you know, calling in the other people mentioned in these allegations then we need to do that. Okay, so that’s all from me for now. So, would you like to speak first?
Yumna: [02:32] Um, I’m not sure. I have a lot of thoughts written down, but I’m kind of… So what you’re saying is that the purpose of this meeting is to understand what I wrote and why I wrote it, and then…
Aron: It is to understand what you wrote and why you wrote it. We’re in a position as an institution where this is now a complaint. Even if it is in the HPCSA booklet, we have to address it. So the purpose of this meeting is to address it. If at the end of this meeting you feel, okay, this is not adequately addressed, then it goes to a hearing from there, right? But, I also have to mention that there’s two separate issues here, right: the e-mail and the HPCSA logbook. We as an institution have to address our issues so that we can say to the HPCSA, right, this is the complaint, this is how we’ve dealt with it. Please understand that the HPCSA will deal with this anyway. So it doesn’t end here. It’s not the end of this, today. They are obligated to investigate this matter. And they can do that legally, they can do that, you know, outside the institution…[03:41] So this is not the end of it. But, you know, let’s address some of the issues here.
Yumna: Okay, so, to start, I think maybe my choice of avenue for expressing it, particularly in the logbook, may not have been most strategic because my intention was actually to provide feedback. That was my intention. I had a particular… a particular component of my experience in this department, not the whole one, actually most of it was positive. This part was negative and I wanted to express that as feedback so that leadership could take it up and do something about it, if they saw fit. So I didn’t necessarily realise that it was a formal complaint. And I now realise. But I still, at the same time, don’t think it’s entirely inappropriate. It’s just not what I intended to begin with. So then, from there, there are a couple of things that I thought about that I can contribute, like, I can, I can speak about my timeline and my experiences about what I’ve been having difficulty with, for one thing, and the other thing is some examples of the behaviour that I think is problematic.
Aron: Okay, why don’t we do this… Perhaps, let’s go through the complaints, right.
Aron: Dr Fabian, can I leave that to you?
Fabian: Okay. Alright.
Aron: [05:10] Maybe that will be easier, because then what you can do, is perhaps a lot of what you’ve got there is in answer to these complaints, right.
Aron: And then if we get to the end of that, if there’s anything more…
Fabian: Thanks Dr Aron. I’m here by invitation from Dr Maritz and Dr Jorge, although he’s not present at the moment. And I’m here wearing a number of hats. The first hat I’m here is like the second intern curator to Dr Aron and I’m also here as an independent third-party mediator so that protagonists don’t end up talking to each other directly, they can talk through me, which I think is a far better way of doing things. However, I need to state very clearly, upfront, that sometimes the die gets cast and then we have to deal with the consequences of the die. And having written what you wrote in your logbook, it’s clearly, as Dr Aron has said… Firstly, I need to ask are you happy for me to be here?
Fabian: Okay, alright. I think what you’ve written in your logbook is clearly involves serious… you know, it’s not a ‘the cup of coffee was spilled when it was made’… these are serious allegations. And as such, I have been asked by the department of orthopaedics to clear up exactly what you… what is the problem… and you have to explain to us in detail why you wrote this. Also, I would just like to go through… ignore the logbook… ignore the e-mails… and ignore anything other than the logbook. In the logbook there is three comments: racism, sexism and departmental teaching processes. I would like to just stick to the HSPCA logbook and deal with each… I haven’t seen it, but there’s an asterisk next to each of them… it was like racism, sexism and then next door an asterisk…
Yumna: Uh, that was a different section.
Fabian: Okay, a different section. Alright.
Yumna: So that is the one… that asterisk continues there and then that one…
Fabian: There was sexism, racism… That’s the section that I would like to deal with.[07:17] I would like to take them in not the order that you wrote them, and I would like to deal with racism, sexism and then the other issues. Alright?
Fabian: Now, firstly, I would like you to define for me your concept of racism.
Yumna: Um… prejudice based on race.
Fabian: So in other words, what you’re saying is that a person… myself, let’s deal with myself… has a certain behaviour to a person, irrespective of their qualities, based purely on their race. And it’s not contextual… And individualized… so in other words what you’re saying is that in the department you experienced racism, basically, on… against race.
Yumna: In particular I’m referring to racist jokes.
Fabian: [08:05] Racism. No, racism. Racism covers the entire… Please can you give me the make-up of the orthopaedic department.
Fabian: No no no, the people, who are in the department.
Yumna: Uh… At what level?
Fabian: The whole lot. The whole department.
Yumna: Well, there are… Apartheid classification ‘white people’, ‘black people’, ‘coloured people’, ‘Indian people’…
Fabian: We’re dealing with racism. Your definition is that… Your argument was that racism is individually targeting people according to their race, not according to their individual. So I would like you just to explain, in the department of orthopaedics, the racial breakdown.
Yumna: So there are people of various racial groups in the orthopaedic department.
Fabian: How many? Do you know?
Yumna: I don’t.
Fabian: Okay, I will break it down for you. The three consultants are Dr Maritz and Dr Grey, who are both white, Dr Gumede who’s black… Uh… Five, six, seven, eight MOs: one Nepalese, five Indians and two coloureds, one of which is a registrar. So basically, are you defining yourself as coloured?
Yumna: Well… I… It’s tricky for me.
Fabian: By race? No, well, pick one.
Yumna: [09:18] I don’t want to.
Fabian: No, well, we’re dealing with racism here. You just said –
Yumna: I didn’t say it was directed at me.
Fabian: It’s in your logbook, hey.
Fabian: You’re saying that this is a racist problem. So you must pick a race, and then we work from there. What do you want to call yourself?
Yumna: I don’t think we can work forward if you’re requiring me to racially classify myself.
Fabian: Ja we are. Listen…
Aron: [09:42] Okay can I just interrupt here. Okay, from what you’re saying to me, right, is that you weren’t referring to yourself. But this logbook is your experience in the department. It’s not the general opinion of… Or the forum to… The letter was more appropriate in saying what you wanted to say. You know, you saw some problems in the department that you wanted to address. But the logbook is your experiences in the department. So if there were racist comments made to somebody else, then that person has to bring up their issues with the racist comments made out to them… Right? So you can’t generally speak on behalf of the group. Even the group leader, who’s meant to be speaking on behalf of the group, is not meant to voice a group, collective opinion in this forum, in your logbook. And I think that’s something that was clear when the logbooks were handed out to you by the HPCSA. Because you could be in different hospitals, you could be in different groups at a time… It is your opinion… Your experience, and your assessment of the department… Not sort of, the collective, right? But it also becomes a problem when you’re speaking on behalf of a collective and the collective cannot… collaborate (sic)…
Fabian: Have you got permission to speak from the collective?
Yumna: I am not meaning to speak from the collective. I just find I disagree with this, I can’t say –
Fabian: Dr Moosa, Dr Moosa –
Yumna: I can’t describe racism if it’s not directed at me… What if it’s directed at my patients, Dr Fabian? Racism can also be directed against people who aren’t me –
Fabian: Was it directed at your patients?
Yumna: There have been examples that have made me uncomfortable. And this is why I commented.
Fabian: Dr Moosa… I think, I think… Okay.[11:22] I need to go back a couple of steps. This meeting is held because you wrote a statement called racism.
Fabian: Alright. You identified that racism is a collective disagreement against a group of people, not a single individual.
Fabian: Yes, that’s what racism is. It’s based on race.
Yumna: But it’s directed at an individual at a particular time. Yes it is.
Fabian: Well, it’s directed at a particular individual because of his race, not because of his religion, culture…
Fabian: So racism is race… What you are saying is that you feel that certain groups are particularly targeted against… like, race groups… so I’m asking you… in the department of orthopaedics, as far as I can see, every race is participating in that department.
Fabian: So when the… Who is the racism targeted at?
Yumna: Um, a couple of the examples that came up were mostly directed against the black…
Fabian: So Dr Gumede is feeling uncomfortable in the department?
Yumna: Well, I was referring to the interns, but… Maybe Dr Gumede may be another… There are some other doctors but I don’t actually want to go into their experiences in this meeting because I do agree with you, that I am not authorized to do that.
Fabian: Carrying on… carrying on….
Aron: You write that the department was an extremely hostile place to work as a woman, or as a foreigner, or as a black African. Now I want you to understand that this is not here to put you in a bad position. You’re completely entitled to have your opinion, right… But if you write on behalf of someone else, okay, then we have to say that person has to come forth and collaborate (sic) your story. You understand? Because this is written… As a woman… So you can say this is my experience as a woman… As a foreigner… Then we need foreigners to come out and say… Black Africans to say… So this is… Not here to undermine you or your statement in anyway. I don’t want you to feel that. But, it is our duty now to collaborate (sic)… So we need these people to come up and say… This is me, I’m a black African, and I’m the one who felt bad in this department, you know. So, we actually need evidence of that… Proof of that…
Yumna: [13:37] And I think it would be extremely valuable if you can successfully make a space that is safe enough for people to admit those things to your face. I think it would be valuable for everyone to have that.
Fabian: Can I… can I… can I continue on this please? Just can I….
Aron: So can you give us examples of these people that were…
Yumna: [INAUDIBLE at 13:55]
Fabian: Dr Aron, can I just continue on this? Can I, just… Dr Moosa, I’d like to ask you another question.
Fabian: You are an intern in the department.
Yumna: Well, I was….
Fabian: Well you are.
Yumna: Ja, ja.
Fabian: You’re an intern in the department of orthopaedics.
Fabian: Have you any idea of the number of interns that pass through Addington Hospital Gandhi complex in a year?
Fabian: Have you any idea of the number?
Yumna: I don’t.
Fabian: Have you any idea of the make up?
Yumna: I don’t.
Fabian: I’d like to give you a breakdown, alright? In the last two years, as far as I can see, there’ve been 16 whites, 43 Indians, 33 blacks and 10 coloureds, of which, then… one… I’m going to classify you as coloured whether you like it or not. You can object to it, um, but I’m putting you as a coloured. And there’s you and Wilkinson, as far as I can see, in your group. Alright? Of the ten that have been through… So, so… What we’re saying… What I’m basically saying is that, that… and it turns out to be 102 people, just by chance. So 16% are white, round figures, 43% are Indians, 33% are black and 10% are coloureds. So if there’s racism in this department, you would say that Wilkinson and yourself had the same experience.
Yumna: I think what I’m hearing you say is that because there are lots of people of different races there can’t be racism unless they all have the same experience…? That’s a strange argument.
Fabian: What you are saying is that the department of orthopaedics exhibited racism. That’s what you’ve written here. Now I’m asking you… in this diverse group of people… Wilkinson is in your group. He must have experienced the same, same process because he’s a coloured and he’s in the department of orthopaedics.
Yumna: That’s often not how discrimination works.
Fabian: No, no, you know what? Racism… That’s why I asked you to define it right at the beginning. Racism is Dr Maritz’s personal attitude to coloureds, irrespective of who the individual is. That’s what you said to me. So, so –
Yumna: I’m not really sure if that’s the working definition in… Um, I mean, maybe Sma can confirm… Is that the working definition in our, sort of, labour guidelines?
Shezi: [16:17] It is exactly what Dr Fabian is saying now.
Yumna: So that if there is racism, every black person at the hospital must experience it.
Shezi: If I’m racist, I will be racist towards every white man in this room.
Yumna: Otherwise it’s not racism?
Fabian: Otherwise it’s not racism, no. It’s individualizing.
Aron: If she is racist and she’s only picking on Dr Fabian or Dr Maritz then that’s victimisation.
Fabian: That’s victimisation. That’s individualizing.
Aron: That’s not racism.
Aron: Racism is against a particular race.
Fabian: You don’t even have to speak to the person. You just have to look. Here comes an Indian. You make a judgement. He’s an Indian. I dislike him because I hate all Indians. That’s racism. You don’t know who they are… They’re just a being in front of you, of a certain category. So by you saying this is racism, then Wilkinson in your group, and all these other people, must have experienced the same process that you’ve experienced. That’s what you’re in essence saying.
Yumna: So that’s what me speaking about racism means? Okay.
Fabian: And by your own admission, you are not individualizing. You’re speaking on behalf of everybody else. Can we agree on that? We’ve been trying to get you to individualise, but you say you’re a spokesperson for people.
Yumna: I was describing what I have witnessed.
Fabian: That’s fine. So you’re a spokesperson for people. That’s what you’re saying.
Yumna: I wouldn’t have put it like that, but you can…
Fabian: Then how would you put it?
Yumna: [17h42] I would say I witnessed behaviours and events that appeared to me to be race-based because racial words were used, but I’m willing to admit that it could’ve been ‘race-based victimisation’ and not ‘racism’ because it was directed at particular people. So if… an example of something I mean is to say to a particular black person, ‘you’re being stupid like a black person’, so it’s not to all the black people, it’s to that person. But it’s referring to their race in the insult. And that has happened.
Fabian: Now I’d like to go back on your words. You just told us now at this meeting you’re speaking to us on behalf of people.
Yumna: Of things that I have witnessed personally.
Fabian: Okay. So it goes back to my argument, is that. You are collectively speaking for all of those coloured, Indian, black people. That’s what you just told us Dr Moosa.
Aron: Sorry, one more thing. If you read number 15, please describe any specific problems which you experienced and suggest a way of avoiding and correcting these. You experienced. This is saying you personally experienced sexism, racism, public shaming, sexual harassment. You see, as I said, this logbook is you and your feedback. You cannot be talking about other people in it. But if the –
Yumna: I hear you. I hear you.
Aron: So you can’t go back now and undo this. But then we have to colloborate [sic] with other people.
Aron: So we do need the names of other people that come in here and say, okay, this was my experience. Because if you are saying – and our purpose here is to settle this – so if you are saying, I saw racist remarks being made to so-and-so and it made so-and-so feel uncomfortable, and we call so-and-so here… ‘Look, I wasn’t really uncomfortable’…[19:35] Let’s use sexual harassment. Because sexual harassment, the definition is something that you, personally, feel uncomfortable with, so what might be sexual harassment for you might be something I feel comfortable with. So if you are talking about sexual harassment with someone else and they come in and say, look I didn’t feel harassed in any way, then…
Yumna: It’s no longer that –
Aron: Exactly. This is part of our resolution. We’ve investigated the sexual harassment…
We’re not trying to do this to prove you right or wrong, but we are forced, if there is sexism, and you’re not talking about yourself, or there is racism and you’re not talking about yourself, then we actually need to call in people, with you here, that, you know, have experienced it and they have to, they have to talk to us about what their experience is so that we can resolve it.
Yumna: So I propose an alternative way to get them –
Fabian: Before you do that, may I just go to the next statement. As I see that the door has been opened. I said I’d like to deal with all of them individually, alright?
Sexism… Okay… So that was my next argument. Please define sexism for me.
Yumna: Prejudice… Uh, discrimination on the basis of sex.
Fabian: Okay. Alright. Do you know the makeup of the orthopaedic department?
Yumna: I don’t.
Fabian: If I was to tell you, that of the… Of the 11 people in the orthopaedics department, 2 are female. Rajaram and Ansar-Meah, Alright? That’s in the department. Are you aware of the makeup –
Yumna: Just tell me, Dr Fabian, I don’t know any of the numbers.
Fabian: Okay. Well… According to the figures that I basically went through, we’ve had 102 interns that I could roughly go through in the last 2 things… Of that 102, 68 were female. So almost 70% of the current people we’ve had are female. Alright? So sexism in its most common form is male against female. It’s very unlikely that we’re getting a… a male complaining that the woman is having a go at him. Alright. So by inference what you’re saying is that the department of orthopaedics is sexist against 68% of the people working there, or who have worked there. Is what you’re saying. In terms of sexism.
Yumna: Yes. That is what I’m saying.
Fabian: So you’re saying that 68% of the people, who are female, have had sexist problems with the department of orthopaedics.
Yumna: They’ve been behaved… They’ve been… Um… Treated in a sexist way.
Fabian: No… no… But you…
Yumna: I can give you examples here of things that have been said.
Yumna: The women. Yes.
Fabian: Okay. Alright. So, so, so… When it’s, when it’s when it’s… [sic]68%… I’m pressing you with 68% because again, this is a collective process. All 68% have the problem.
Yumna: Maybe they don’t mind.
Fabian: Then that’s not sexism.
Yumna: That’s not true.
Fabian: It is.
Aron: Yes, it is.
Yumna: If every single woman doesn’t mind being told that women are stupid and irrational and incompetent then it’s not sexist?
Fabian: Then it’s not sexism, no…
Aron: If you look at the definition…
Yumna: Okay, uh… That was very different to my understanding but… If the HR person tells me that…
Aron: No, these are actually textbook definitions…
Yumna: Exactly, so I assume that she’d be more likely to know than me.
Aron: If you look at sexual harassment like I said, right… It’s not just, okay this is sexual harassment, it only applies to you, right. It’s what you feel comfortable with. So if he makes a remark and I’m comfortable with that remark then it’s not sexism. It has to make me uncomfortable.
Fabian: Friendly banter.
Yumna: But does it have to make every woman that has ever spoken to him uncomfortable?
Fabian: Yes. Yes. Yes, that’s the definition of sexism. 68% of people collectively –
Aron: It’s against the female race… It should be a remark that makes women uncomfortable –
Fabian: ‘I hate all women’ is a sexist remark. Because it doesn’t matter if you’re Indian, coloured, Muslim, Japanese, Chinese, Indian… I hate all women. That’s a sexist remark. ‘I hate Dr Aron’ is a victimisation.
Yumna: [23:41] I just wanna clarify something… Are we going to go through each point and you explain to me why my use of the word is incorrect?
Fabian: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Absolutely. Absolutely.
Yumna: Because then that’s not really worth me doing.
Fabian: It’s not for you to decide. You’ve written it down. We are now clearing the process.
Aron: Okay, we have to go through a process, right, where we actually determine whether these remarks are valid or not valid. So for instance if we say there’s sexual harassment and there’s no people to prove they’ve been sexually harassed then it would be invalid, right? And in our report we have to say that on our investigation we found it to be invalid. If you say there’s a racist remark and we can find someone here to say, look… we’re investigating this…
Yumna: And this is what we found…
Aron: Exactly. So. Again it’s not to undermine you. But we actually have to go through the definitions –
Fabian: Okay. The next thing I’d like to ask you about… You were in orthopaedics on the 22nd of May, were you not?
Fabian: It’s either yes or no, Dr Moosa.
Yumna: I don’t know what day of the week it was…
Fabian: No… Were you in the department of orthopaedics in May? Were you aware that there was an HPCSA meeting for interns that was compulsory attendance?
Yumna: Yes, but I thought it wasn’t for me.
Fabian: Why ‘interns’ and ‘compulsory’…
Yumna: Because it was something in preparation for their logbook and feedback about Addington at that point and I hadn’t completed any rotations in Addington.
Fabian: Okay, but, you… Uh…
Yumna: I did have this discussion with Dr Aron also. She said she wasn’t sure I was supposed to attend but that I should find out. I checked with HR and HR also didn’t think I was supposed to attend.
Fabian: Okay, so, did you… So you felt you didn’t need to go. Alright. So. I’ve checked that. You didn’t go.
Yumna: Yes. I didn’t go.
Fabian: Alright. Now. What is the purpose of the HPCSA meeting, do you think? In general?
Fabian: You’re a second year, are you? So last year you had one. Okay. So you’re aware of the process of the HPCSA meeting.
Yumna: Approximately, yes.
Fabian: It’s either yes or no, doctor.
Yumna: I’ve been to… one of them…
Fabian: So, so… At the meeting, what… What… What is the HPCSA process for that meeting? What do they want to hear?
Fabian: Okay. So what feedback do you think they want to hear?
Yumna: How… Internship training is going.
Fabian: So you don’t think that if you… the third comment of your thing, about the teaching component of this process… that it would not have been an ideal forum for you to go and voice complaints?
Yumna: It would have been, in retrospect.
Fabian: So why didn’t you go?
Yumna: Because at the time I was still quite early, and quite new in the rotation and I was hoping that things would actually get better…
Fabian: Did you have those feelings at that time?
Yumna: They were… But you have to, kind of, have it for a long period of time to realise that it’s a pattern of behaviour rather than… someone was in a bad mood that morning.
Fabian: Right, okay, right… in that meeting…. There are a couple of things I would like to put on record. The first thing is that, the department of orthopaedics from 120 interns got 10/10 rating. Are you aware of that?
Yumna: Now I am.
Fabian: Okay. So in other words, there was not a single person at that meeting that raised unhappiness about the teaching, the presence, the conduct in the department of orthopaedics. In fact, 120 rated them 10/10. Are you aware of that?
Yumna: Now I am.
Fabian: [27:29] One of the things I’d like to say… at that meeting, Dr Maritz is head of the department, and Dr Jorge is the, is the main teacher of the department. Alright? Now I would just like you to clarify a few processes as to his, how, his [sic] conduct in the department of orthopaedics. So would you mind if I called him, as a witness?
Yumna: Okay… For a particular purpose.
Fabian: I just want to ask him something.
Maritz: He’s not outside.
Fabian: Okay. Alright. Can I put on record what Dr Jorge has said? Okay. Without him being there. Now I discussed this with Dr Jorge. Dr Jorge has been in the department nine years. Department of orthopaedics. Nine years. Dr Jorge has every two months, six times a year… on 54 occasions he’s taught interns exactly the same way. The same methods. The same stories. The same instruction. The same processes. For 54… Approximately 360 interns. He’s had that process. This year, last year, and I cannot further go back, orthopaedics has had a 10/10 rating. The interns have been totally happy with his conduct. Processes. Teaching methods. And Dr Maritz as the head of department, has yet to have a complaint that he’s unavailable other than the one that we’ve just seen from you here. So…
Yumna: Uh… The unavailability was not –
Maritz: On-and-off… Five or six years…
Fabian: Five or six years. Five or six years. So give or take nine years, and four or five years, and the consultants… this is the first allegation that we’ve had that, um, that they’re not available.
Yumna: That wasn’t referring to Dr Jorge.
Fabian: The department of orthopaedics. We’re talking collectively now. The consultants are not available.
Yumna: The seniors –
Aron: Unavailability of seniors between 1am and 5am.
Yumna: So I was referring to the seniors while on call. So that wasn’t clear.
Fabian: And Dr Maritz has… I’d like to ask you, Mark, you have repeatedly stated that if there’s ever a problem, please phone me. I know that, even in anaesthetics. I heard you say that to many an intern, many a registrar, many a MO. Yes.
Maritz: Which I stressed at the orientation day, at which you weren’t there…
Yumna: Probably not… Uh… The one of orthopaedics I was, but not at the beginning of the year.
Maritz: Orthopaedics. Do you remember I said I have an open door.
Yumna: You did and I appreciate that.
Maritz: You can contact me with anything, anytime.
Fabian: So, we fail to understand how they are not available, the seniors. Because right at the top is available. So if you keep going higher and higher and higher and higher until right at the top, and the buck stops at the top. Maritz. So actually, someone in the department is 100% of the time 100% available.
Yumna: That’s true.
Fabian: [30:33] One of the other things that I need to clarify is that in terms of you intern group… I have discussed this with them. I have discussed this with interns. And I’ve been… I think I’ve been 7 years, I think 7 years… and I’ve been intern curator and involved with the interns and I can’t say all, because I haven’t discussed this with every single person, but I can state that the vast majority of interns actually love orthopaedics. They, um, they, they have a wonderful time in orthopaedics and they totally…
*produces thank you card from interns to Dr Jorge*
In your group, are you aware of this?
Yumna: I am.
Fabian: Why would, why would, why would your group give this to Dr Jorge?
Yumna: Because he taught us incredibly well. I had the best orthopaedic teaching that I’ve had ever.
Fabian: So where is the problem? I cannot see where the problem is.
Yumna: I feel like they’re two separate points, though. For me they’re very clearly separate. His being a fantastic and dedicated teacher and him making sexually inappropriate remarks.
Fabian: Okay, so what I’m boiling down to, is that I’ve yet to find somebody who agrees with you.
Yumna: [31:49] Okay, but can I read you some of the things that happened. Factually. That can be… that have been witnessed. And can be confirmed. And we can decide…
Fabian: Yes we can. The question that I would like to ask you before you read them… were you alone? Or was it in a group environment?
Yumna: There were lots of people.
Fabian: Okay. So you’re the only person that felt that. And the other nine, like the same incident, the witnesses were one, yourself, and nine others. Nine others thought it was a wonderful and funny joke, and you were unhappy with it.
Yumna: Well, I don’t also think it’s completely fair to ask them this question while you still have their logbook that hasn’t been signed, because you hold a lot of power over them. Whether it is explicitly said or not, interns don’t like to cause a fuss because we are vulnerable. We are.
Fabian: Doctor, no… I’m going to stamp on you with that one. You don’t know. I don’t need to give you my track record… But I can tell you… I’ve probably helped more interns in this environment, just under Dr Aron. And there’s very few interns that don’t come up and talk to me.
Aron: Sorry. I also need to disagree with that. There’s grievance procedures in a hospital when someone is being victimized. I’ve never had the experience, being intern curator, over these couple of years and Dr Fabian has been even before that, that any intern has actually come to us and said, look, I’ve been victimized. And you have… there’ve been several problems where we’ve actually protected, you know, within the law, um, and assisted. That statement alone, to say that, you know what, they won’t come forward until their books are signed, that puts a very poor reflection on the HOD of the department. To say that he manipulates these books. So I don’t think, I don’t think that’s a fair comment at all. Secondly, these books do go over to the HPCSA, right? And if one finds that here, within the hospital, you know, you’re being victimized, you’re not getting… your, your aim out of the HOD, you have other avenues to go to. There’s me as the intern curator, and I am independent of this. I’m not on his side or your side, right?
Aron: Because this, I am representing the institution, right? So I have to be fair to both of you. What I need to look at is the fact that HR, right, apart from Sma who’s labour relations, yeah, there’s Mary and Noleen… There’s SAMA, which helps as well, you know… On the basis of a union… and fair enough, let’s say you’re not a member of SAMA, there’s the HPCSA itself, you know? So you as an intern are protected by the HPCSA. So if you had to say, look, this happened to me in the department and I couldn’t say so because my book wasn’t signed, there’s many avenues for that. So I don’t think anybody in the department can say that they are afraid to comment because their books haven’t been signed or anything like that, you know. Um, and remember that when we were asking for comments, when the HPCSA was here, they spoke to them, they spoke to the group that just finished orthopaedics but they spoke to the interns as a whole. They spoke to the people who have been out of orthopaedics. Books were signed and everything. They had nothing, no axe hanging over their heads and they said what was your experience, and this is the rating that they got. They got 10. There was no problems in the department.
Aron: So that part, I have to intervene. And I don’t think that is fair…
Fabian: The vast majority of the situations I’ve been in like this have been defending the interns against the institution. The vast majority actually.
Aron: So I don’t think anyone should be afraid to say something because they think that… And we’re not talking about in general here… So we saying if we call someone to say this is what happened in the department, they are afraid that Dr Maritz is not gonna sign their book because of speaking out, and I don’t think that…
And if they are, then there’s still me to come to. Or HR. There’s many avenues. That… That… They’re protected against.
Maritz: Your books are not signed because you guys haven’t finished what we asked you to do. Part of your job was to collect the stats. It still hasn’t been done despite, how many e-mails was it…? That’s why your book is not signed. The minute you finish your task your book gets signed. Irrespective of what you write in your logbook.
Yumna: I know that. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not a fear that hangs over lots of interns’ heads. Realistically, reasonably…
Fabian: You know what, Dr Moosa… I really, I need to make a, like a personal request here, to you… One of the purposes of this meeting is not a general discussion of intern conduct. It’s… Can we agree on that?
Fabian: This is a discussion on your personal conduct.
Fabian: So I think all allusions to interns, others, whatever… have to desist from the process…
Yumna: Absolutely, I’m very happy…
Fabian: Because unless you can call every single intern to verify… what you’re going to do… I certainly aren’t going to call an intern to do this.
So now, do you agree on this process?
Yumna: Yes, I’m happy to talk about things that I have experienced.
Fabian: So can we then disregard every statement you made when you say all interns.
Fabian: So basically, everything you’ve said about all the others we just wipe off the record. Because that’s what… You cannot, you cannot… What you’re doing is sitting on both sides of the fence, and I’m now gonna force you to sit on one side of the fence.
Yumna: Okay, from here on out I’m very –
Fabian: No, no, no –
Yumna: Happy to speak about my experience.
Fabian: So what I need to do is clear up all this other… Other interns, this, that and the other…
Yumna: Clearing up. Finished. I’m speaking for myself. And my experience.
Fabian: …About all this other stuff that you cannot substantiate.
Aron: [37:36] Because even though I’m happy with that, that we talk about your experiences, we still as an institution have to address sexism, racism, public shaming, sexual harassment because we… Okay once this goes to the HPCSA, the HPCSA will investigate it. Part of their investigation will be separate and part will be to the institution. How have you addressed this? So how can we say that we have addressed this… So we’re going to have to come back to it and address it. Right, so we do need examples of this and we need to interview… So we can see… If you say this is the comment made to so-and-so and so-and-so comes in and says I really don’t feel it was sexist then we write in our statement that there were other people involved and they felt fine about it… And that is how we dealt with it. So that procedure still stays the same. We will have to go through that. And we will need the names of people. We will call them in. And you can be here, you know. They might be asked to make statements, because we have to keep something on record, to say these were addressed, right. Unfortunately they’re out there. It wasn’t your intention, but it’s out there now and we have to address it.
Yumna: So where are we on the list?
Fabian: What, what, what, what we need to do is I need to reign this back in. Because I feel like every time I ask you a question, you jump from the personal to the collective –
Yumna: Okay, so I’m happy to go back to personal[INAUDIBLE at 39:05]
Fabian: This is not… This is not… You see… You’ve gotta answer here… The personal… Okay. Go back. Let’s take racism. As I said the definition of racism is that you’re saying that every person of a particular race group was treated badly or well… I suppose you can have good racism… Because of their race group…
Fabian: That’s what you’re saying. So you are now saying that you are the spokesperson for a race group.
Yumna: But can we move on from there and go and acknowledge that we going to talk about my experiences from here on out, which –
Fabian: No, no…
Yumna: …I think will be more productive and I’m very happy to do.
Fabian: Yes, we will get there. But I need to clear this up. Because you’re saying that… In essence what you’re saying is that the department of orthopaedics, because this is under the orthopaedics banner, is racist. That’s what that statement says. That you’ve experienced racism. And racism is not a collective… It’s a collective process.
Fabian: And then you are the spokesperson, either for yourself as a coloured, as I’ve said, or as um, as the nominated spokesperson for black people.
Aron: I think the way you worded it was incorrect. I mean, what you were saying here.
Yumna: I recognise that –
Aron: [40:19] What you’re saying here is that you heard racist comments, but writing racism there means we have to defend ourselves against racism.
Fabian: So what I’m asking –
Yumna: And I, I hear that… It was point form. It should have been put in more detail. I accept that 100%.
Fabian: Let’s talk about this. Okay, how are you going…What is, what is… Okay, it was a mistake. How you going to correct it?
Yumna: What I would be very happy to talk about is what my options are… Would you like me to write different things in my logbook?
Fabian: No, no, no…
Yumna: I can do that.
Fabian: No, doctor…
Aron: Once it’s there, once it’s there, we cannot retract it. I mean… Because then…
Yumna: Okay, so it’s there…
Aron: Because then it opens up other issues, right… That’s… We need to defend the statements that were made against, you know, us…
Fabian: The problem that we having here… And it’s not a joke…
Yumna: I need to laugh.
Fabian: It’s okay to laugh. But I think you’re not understanding the gravity of the process. This, this… You make these kind of comments. Unfortunately these kind of comments are not at the moment contained in-house.
Fabian: You are aware that like, the whole of South Africa, or Cape Town is talking about this process. You are aware of that…?
Yumna: This process?
Fabian: The fact that you’re sitting here today.
Fabian: You’re aware of that?
Yumna: I wasn’t. Now I am.
Fabian: Okay, well, if you’re not, we are.
Fabian: Okay. So I can tell you… Dr Maritz, have you spoken about this outside the hospital, do you think Dr Jorge has…?
Maritz: I haven’t.
Fabian: And I, for the record, I… I have heard you publically, sitting in the tea room talking about it, and publically in the corridor talking about it to complete strangers.
Maritz: And in the theatre whilst I’m busy operating, doing a total hip replacement.
Fabian: Ja. You’re talking about…
Maritz: I’m talking about everybody… In front of everyone. While I was operating.
Fabian: So you have put this into the public domain. Alright? So, so, to give you the context of the problem. You have said, despite us being an amazingly homogeneous… like, not homogeneous…
Fabian: Heterogeneous group of people… That you have labelled us as racist. Now I’m coming from a white perspective, although I’m not fully white. She’s coming from an Indian perspective… Somehow we’re all racist. That’s what this says. And Sma is the public… Uh… Labour relations, labour relations… We have to, in terms of the South African context, we have to defend because we feel we’ve been slighted. I personally feel as though I’ve been slighted. We have to defend it, and if it’s true, we have to rethink our processes. And if it’s not true, then you have to take the consequences of your statement. This is part of being… As I said in anaesthetics… You’re a doctor. If you’re behaving like a doctor, you’ll be treated like one. And unfortunately you’re an adult, you’re a doctor, you’re an independent, you’re a major. And when you make these statements, you either have to be very careful that you can back them up and that you… the vast…the entire Addington complex is slighted by these. Even the cleaner in the kitchen is labelled Addington orthopaedics department, because she has some relationship, is slighted by these comments.
Fabian: This is the nature of the problem that has developed.
Fabian: So now… On this basis, we are going to, in terms of Dr Maritz and Dr Jorge, I am going to be incredibly, uh, pernickety and point form… That either this is true or it’s patently untrue and it’s… and it’s… and it’s… It can’t be both… It cannot be… There are no shades of grey in this.
Because I’m going to fight that we’re not racist. And I’m going to state that we’re not racist. And I’m going to state it not based on that I’m stating it… I’m basically stating it on a track record of nine years for Dr Jorge, six years for… six years for myself and Dr Aron… and you, what, four-five years here…
Fabian: Sixteen years, okay. So these are…. Sixteen years and now the intern curator. And this is the first time we’ve ever had this problem. In our long, illustrious career. And we’re not going to let this… It’s either true and it’s being buried, or it’s patently untrue and we’re gonna defend ourselves.
Fabian: And if… And it’s incumbent upon you, now, to either prove it, or retract it in some way or other, and unfortunately, if you cannot retract it, the HPCSA has to stand by it. But this is not a laughing matter. This is seriously serious. And it’s going to be dealt with in that way.
Yumna: Um… I hear you. From here on I would like to speak particularly about my own experiences. Um… I stand to be corrected from somebody who knows about labour relations things, but my understanding that within, um, discrimination disputes in the workplace it is actually the responsibility of the employer to prove that the, that the complaint issued didn’t happen. It is not the responsibility of the complainant to prove that it did happen. That is my understanding.
Aron: In order for us to prove that it didn’t happen, we need the person that is actually being mentioned. Which means, as I said, you actually have to name names. These are the people here. We have to…
Yumna: I’ll ask them if they want to. Um…
Fabian: No, no. This is well past that. No, you can’t force me to –
Aron: You see, you see…
Maritz: Innocent until proven guilty. You need to prove to us that these statements were said. And that you had witnesses that corroborate your story.
Yumna: My understanding is in these labour-related dis… Um… Complaints, that… I mean I know it in terms of sexual harassment… I don’t know in terms of other forms of harassment…
Aron: Sma, maybe you can help us on this. If we don’t resolve here we go to a hearing, right?
Shezi: No, the thing is… I’m not sure if Dr Moosa gets it… She who alleges must prove.
Yumna: I… Uh… Did some reading…