South African Medical Association

Media Release | SAMA apologises for the hurt caused in a statement made by its National Chairperson

SAMA apologises for the hurt caused in a statement made by its National Chairperson

The South African Medical Association (SAMA) takes note of remarks by its Chairperson, Dr Angelique Coetzee during an interview on CapeTalk on 26 January 2022 relating to admission requirements to medical schools in South Africa.

During the interview, Dr Coetzee expressed personal opinions that the admission processes to medical schools were highly politicised, that race played a significant role in determining acceptance to medical faculties, in many instances more than the applicant's matric performance and that different criteria exist for different race groups with regard to admission requirements.

Dr Coetzee has apologised unreservedly for any emotional hurt this statement may have caused. After considerable deliberation, the SAMA Board accepted her apology. The Board acknowledges that Dr Coetzee's interpretation of the admission requirements is incorrect, and that entrance processes for medical students are much more complex and thorough than what was stated in her opinion. The Board is fully cognisant of the fact that the stringent entry requirements are meant to ensure the provision of only the highest quality medical professionals for the country. SAMA further acknowledges that entrance to medical schools requires a high level of academic achievement across the board, and that all candidates selected for entry into medical school are chosen inter aliaon merit and ability.

The Association appreciates the painful history of South Africa, and therefore empathises with the hurt and anger the unfortunate remarks by Dr Coetzee may have caused to doctors and the general population in the country. SAMA, moreover, distances itself from the statement made by Dr Coetzee as it does not represent the ethos of the Association and the democratic principles it stands for.

SAMA represents all doctors in South Africa, regardless of race, gender, creed or religion and it does so to promote and protect their rights. It will continue to do so as it believes doctors perform an essential and important service to all citizens and it does so for the health of the nation.


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