Technical Committee

The COHSASA Technical Committee, consisting of clinical experts highly experienced in their various fields, meets four times a year to evaluate the external survey results of healthcare facilities participating in the accreditation programme.

The Technical Committee membership reflects various healthcare disciplines, fields of interest, professional bodies, private sector concerns and/or government organisations.

The results evaluated by the Technical Committee are contained in an Accreditation Report. The terms of reference of the Technical Committee are to investigate and approve accreditation reports and inform the COHSASA Board of decisions taken.

It is the role and function of this Committee to make decisions as to whether the facilities will or will not receive accreditation awards, basing these decisions on standard compliance data delivered by the web-based COHSASA quality information system (CoQIS) and corroborated by the input of External Surveyors.

No accreditation is granted unless the healthcare facility achieves the following:

  • all services and departments score at least 80/100;
  • there should be no remaining non-compliant criteria that can result in serious harm or injury to patients or staff; that contravene critical laws and regulations;
  • No serious administration, organisational and/or managerial problems.

For a full explanation of accreditation criteria, click here. 


Jacqui Stewart (Chairperson)

Ms Jacqui Stewart is the Chief Executive Officer of COHSASA. She has been involved in a wide variety of activities for COHSASA including operations, marketing, facilitation, training and client liaison.Ms Stewart joined COHSASA as the Chief Operations Manager in 2005 from the English National Health Service (NHS) University where she was the Interim Director of the Leadership, Management and Improvement School. Prior to that she was the Director of Career Development and Succession Planning at the NHS Modernisation Agency, Leadership Centre.She worked across a number of areas in the English NHS, including as director primary care development in East Kent Health Authority. Jacqui completed her general nurse training in Cape Town.

Professor Dion du Plessis

Professor Dion J du Plessis received his MBChB in 1966 and his MMed (Chir) with distinction and FCS (Uro) in 1972. He received an honorary MD (h.c) from the University of Pretoria in 2002. He was head of the Department of Urology for 25 years and then became Dean of the Faculty of Health Science of the University of Pretoria for eight years. He left the Academic environment and became Group Medical Director for Netcare. During this period he implemented Clinical Governance in Netcare. He is now retired but serves on several boards and consults in the medical industry.

Ms Esme Pudule

Esme Pudule, a nurse by profession, started her palliative care career in 1998. She began as a nurse in home care and in 2004 became the hospice mentor and managed the south region of the hospice home care programme for the Hospice Witwatersrand in Gauteng. She left the hospice services in 2006 to pursue her career and joined the Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa (HPCA) as Patient Care Officer and is currently appointed as the Quality Assurance Officer. She is a trained COHSASA surveyor and coordinates the hospice internal surveys assessing compliance, implementation of the Hospice Palliative Care Standards and the organisation’s readiness for COHSASA accreditation. These palliative care standards are the first in South Africa and the first of their kind to receive ISQUA accreditation in 2009.

Professor Gert van Zyl

Professor Gert van Zyl currently holds the position of the Dean in the Health Sciences Faculty at the University of the Free State. Starting as a Medical Officer at Welkom Hospital in 1987, he worked his way up the ranks in the Free State public health sector and gained invaluable hands-on clinical and managerial experience as the Senior Medical Superintendent in the Welkom region of the Free State; as Senior Medical Superintendent at Goldfields Regional Hospital and as CEO of the academic, tertiary Universitas Hospital. He then moved to the Free State Department of Health head office where he was promoted from Director and CEO of Academic Health Services to Chief Director and CEO of Academic Health Services and later Executive Manager: Clinical Services. In 2001 he moved into the academic world and again received promotion to secure the position as Head of the School of Medicine at the University of the Free State (UFS) until his appointment as Dean in 2010.

Professor van Zyl graduated from the University of the Orange Free State (UOFS) in 1985 with an MBChB and a Masters in Family Medicine from the same university in 1992. These degrees were followed closely by Diplomas in Health Administration (1995) and Community Health (1995), also from the UOFS. In 2000, Professor van Zyl received his MBA from Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (PU for CHE) and in 2004 he completed his PhD, A Management Model for Heads of Department in the Medical School in the Health Professions Education Programme (HPE) at the University of the Free State in 2004.

Mrs Sharon Slabbert

Sharon Slabbert has been involved in every aspect of hospital management for more than 30 years and has served as Chairman of the Health and Welfare Sector Educational Training Authority (HWSETA), as a Director of COHSASA as well as Executive Officer and Company Secretary of the Hospital Association of South Africa. She is involved in many committees related to quality and has been involved in the working group developing National Quality Standards at the Office of Standards Compliance for the National Department of Health as well as accreditation of government hospitals and the inspection of private hospitals for the allocation of practice code numbers. She is a passionate patient advocate and remains a nurse at heart. She has written numerous articles and presented at many conferences and workshops.
She is currently the Deputy Chair of COHSASA.


Professor Willem Kruger

Professor Willem Kruger is currently the Head of Clinical Department: Community Health in the School of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Free State. Prof. Kruger graduated from the University of the Orange Free State (UOFS) in 1986 with an MBChB and a Masters in Medicine (Community Health) from the same university in 1996. Prof. Kruger received his MBA from Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (PU for CHE) in 2001. He completed his PhD in Community Health in 2011 with a thesis focusing on occupational health with the emphasis on Employee Assistance Programme for healthcare workers.

Prof. Kruger started his career as a medical officer in the Department of Family Medicine in 1990 after completing his compulsory two-year military training. Thereafter he established a private medical practice in Bloemfontein and practiced as a GP until 1992 when he was appointed as a registrar in the Department of Community Health. After qualifying as a community health specialist in 1996, he was appointed as a specialist in the Department of Community Health. In 1999 he joined COHSASA as a facilitator/surveyor for two- year contract period. In 2001 he rejoined the Department of Community Health as a Community Health specialist. In 2003 he was appointed the head: Department of Community Health. In 2012-2013 & 2016-2017 he was also acting head of the School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State.

Professor Daan Kocks

Prof DJ Kocks is currently the Head of the Department Occupational Medicine at the Sefako Makgatho University and is registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa as an Occupational Medicine Specialist. He received his MBChB degree from the University of Pretoria in 1975 and his M Med Degree as well as the South African College of Medicine fellowship in Community Medicine in 1984. He obtained a Diploma in Public Health in 1979 and a Diploma in Occupational Health in 1981. In 1994 he completed the MD degree at Medunsa University and received the FCPHM (SA) (Occ Med) in 2006.

Prof Kocks is the Chairman of the South African Society of Occupational Medicine (SASOM) and has held this position since 1997. As a member of the International Committee on Occupational Health (ICOH) he served on the Scientific Committee of their 31st triennial Congress in Seoul in 2015

Busisiwe Bhengu

Busisiwe Rosemary Bhengu, is an honorary associate professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and a critical care nurse who holds a PhD in Nursing. She was the former Head of the School of Nursing at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban (2008 to June 2011). She is currently the chairperson of the South African Nursing Council serving in her second term in Council. She has also served in the Council of the Critical Care Society of Southern Africa for two years. As the Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre (CC) at UKZN she also represented the Afro Region of the WHO CCs in the Global Network of the WHO CCs.

Prof Bhengu has been engaged in critical care curriculum development and reviews within South Africa and beyond. For example, she initiated a Critical Care Course at UKZN. She has led the reviews of the Post Basic curricula of The KwaZulu-Natal College of Nursing including Bridging course towards professional nursing and, enrolled nursing for St Mary’s Hospital in KZN. Within the African continent she has developed an Advanced Nurse Practice degree curriculum for Eritrea Health Institute, a post basic degree for Nurse Anaesthetists in Kigali Health Institute in Rwanda. Within the Consortium of Higher Education Institutions for development of Nurses and Midwives in Africa (CHENMA,) Prof Bhengu was engaged in building capacity in African Countries having started in East Africa Countries (Kenya and Tanzania) now extended to Francophone countries. This consortium introduces Clinical Masters degrees which include a core module of HIV/AIDS and Prof Bhengu coordinated and implemented the Muhimbili (University in Tanzania) curriculum for Critical Care and Trauma and taught the same Rwanda and Seychelles.

Prof Bhengu has also been engaged in graduate student research supervision and external examination of theses at post graduate level for most of the South African university Schools of Nursing including Public Health. She has also published in both local and international journals in critical care nursing and HIV and AIDS.

Prof Bhengu has presented numerous papers at conferences both nationally and internationally. She has published both in Critical Care and HIV/AIDS. She was also engaged in several collaborative projects some of which have culminated in publications.