More than 5 000 people have shown their support for Professor Tim Noakes on the back of the news that the Health Professionals Council of South Africa’s (HPCSA) will file notice to appeal a majority ruling of not guilty in his misconduct hearing.
In the HPCSA hearing, the Banting guru faced, among other things, being struck off the register as a registered medical practitioner.
With the body moving to appeal the ruling, a Cape Town doctor has drawn up a petition to stop what he describes as a "witch hunt" against Professor Noakes.
The petition, created by Dr David Nye, went live on Sunday, and to date has more than 5 200 signatures.
'Stop this madness'
In its description, the petition says, "In a recent landmark trial Prof Noakes was found not guilty of professional misconduct. He supplied overwhelming scientific evidence to prove his case. In spite of this the HPCSA has declared it will appeal the verdict.
"This will cost millions of rands, and confirms all suspicions that it is on a vindictive witch hunt against an innocent medical doctor. The Low Carb High Fat diet which Noakes advocates challenges the conventional medical paradigm. The credibility of this revolutionary truth is also at stake here. Please sign to help stop this madness."
Noakes welcomed the petition, and said while it may not change the Council’s decision to go ahead with the appeal, it would be an indication that the Council has lost public support on the matter.
A number of healthcare professionals have used social media to voice their disgust at the Council and their backing for Noakes.
But the HPCSA believes they have strong prospects for a successful appeal.
“The Pro Forma Complainant has identified significant errors and misdirections in the application of the law and the evaluation of the evidence by the majority of the professional conduct committee.
“If the errors and misdirections are left unchallenged, it would set a poor precedent,” says spokesperson Priscilla Sekhonyana.
'Where's the independence?'
Sekhonyana added that the Pro Forma Complainant is of the view that another body, and in this instance the internal appeal committee, would come to a different conclusion if the law is correctly applied and if the evidence is correctly evaluated.
Noakes and a few other Twitter questioned the Council's appeal process:
Noakes says he wonders who the driving force behind the appeal is.
The heavy artillery
“This is a question that we will be asking of the Council. It knows who is driving this process and it is time it came clean and shared that information with us and with the South African public,” he said.
Noakes said he and his legal team are ready for what lies ahead and that they welcome the appeal – it frees his legal team to instigate a number of actions they originally decided not to act on since winning the first round of the battle on all counts.
“We really did not want to appear as vindictive and revengeful, but now that the Council has decided to instigate another skirmish, we have no option but to bring out all the heavy artillery we have been holding in reserve.
“A committee listened to 25 days of testimony. How can a new committee who listens to maybe two days of legal argument come a different conclusion, other than if they are pre-selected to produce a different outcome?
“The battle is far from over. We will continue fighting until the truth is forced to emerge and we certainly will take the matter further, if the outcome deviates from the original judgement.”
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