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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Phaahla names Professor Taole Mokoena as new health ombud

Professor Mokoena succeeded Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, whose term came to an end on 31 May 2023.

Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, has announced Professor Taole Resetselemang Mokoena as the new health ombudsman.

Mokoena is a medical graduate at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, DPhil graduate at Oxford University and a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

He recently retired as a professor at the University of Pretoria’s Department of General Surgery and the head of surgery at Steve Biko Academic Hospital.

Outgoing ombud

Mokoena succeeds Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, whose term came to an end on 31 May 2023.

Dr Phaahla thanked Makgoba for his “stellar job during his tenure”.

“Professor Makgoba, since assuming office, has displayed his patriotism and commitment to the creation of an improved healthcare service in the country, by impartially and with no favour or prejudice, investigating complaints brought to his office and made recommendations that are invaluable to the health system in the country.

“Some of the major investigations conducted under his leadership include Life Esidimeni, involving mental health patients, Tembisa Hospital and the recent Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital, which bear testimony to the intent to want to assist the government and the public to build the durable health system,” Phaala said.

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Health ombud

Mokoena said he aims to improve the state of health care in the country despite economic challenges during his tenure as the health ombud.

“I hope that we are going to elevate his (Makgoba) work to a higher level. Indeed the office of the ombud is a big challenge for a variety of reasons, the least of which is not the difficulties the healthcare system is undergoing currently.

“It is under pressure, we have limites resources and yet we have a growing population in the country. And as the population grows, some of the gains of the healtcare system is that people live longer and therefore they consume healthcare resources longer, and for that reason, it’s very difficult given the economy of the country to provide timeously for the demand.

“However, even if we have limited resources relative to the needs, it is imporant that these limited resources must be applied fairly and equitably with high ethical standards,” Mokoena said.


The health ombud is an independent body established in terms of the National Health Amendment Act of 2013.

The ombud is responsible for protecting and promoting the health and safety of users of health services by considering, investigating, and disposing of complaints in the national health system relating to non-compliance with prescribed norms and standards.

The health ombud is appointed on a non-renewable term of seven years.

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Dr Joe Phaahla Esidimeni Health Health Department

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