East London doctor bust for sick note racket

An East London medical doctor, who was arrested on Thursday for allegedly selling a sick note to an undercover Hawks agent, was released on R3 000 bail by the East London Magistrate's Court on Tuesday

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said the fraud case against Dr Siphokazi Sokupa, 69, was postponed to 23 September for further investigation.

NPA spokesperson Anelisa Ngcakani said the conditions of the bail dictate that Sokupa hand in her passport to the investigating officer.

Another condition is that she must not leave the East London magisterial area and must report every Wednesday at Fleet Street police station.

Ngcakani said the Hawks pounced on Sokupa after they received complaints from a number of businesses in East London, questioning the legitimacy of sick notes submitted by their employees, which were authorised by Sokupa.

Ngcakani said: "As a result, the Hawks conducted an undercover Section 252 (A) which was authorised by the Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, Livingstone Sakata. During the undercover sting operation, the doctor is caught on camera issuing a sick note without examining the patient. It is alleged that Dr Sokupa recorded on the sick note the ailment that the patient advised her to record."

Ngcakani revealed that Sokupa has two more pending similar cases that are still before the court.

"For the case at the East London Regional Court, she faces two counts of fraud, both related to her allegedly issuing two medical certificates to an undercover police agent. It is alleged that she did so without examining him.

"For the second case, she was arrested during Level 5 lockdown for allegedly issuing fraudulent travel permits to taxi drivers to transport people to other parts of the Eastern Cape and for that she faces three counts of fraud and contravention of lockdown regulations," said Ngcakani.

Her next court appearance for the two counts of fraud will be on 1 July, said Ngcakani.

She said when Sokupa returns on 23 September, for the fraud case, she will also answer for the contravention of lockdown regulations case.