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. It is the role and function of the Technical Committee to make recommendations to the COHSASA Board as to whether the facilities undergoing evaluation qualify for accreditation awards. The Committee bases its recommendations 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 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.

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


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.

Dr Ziyanda Mgugudo-Sello

Dr Ziyanda Mgugudo-Sello serves as the Head of Unit: Professional Services at the South African Medical Association (SAMA). She is a Public Health Medicine specialist. She earned her MBChB from University of Cape Town, followed by a postgraduate Master’s Degree in Public Health Medicine and Fellowship with the College of Public Health Medicine. Her career has traversed both public and private healthcare sectors in South Africa. Dr. Mgugudo-Sello has played a pivotal role in shaping healthcare standards and quality assurance in Southern and East African countries. Her career trajectory reflects her unwavering dedication to enhancing healthcare systems, advocating for patient-centric care, and championing excellence in the field of public health and medicine.

Dr. Elom Hillary Otchi

Dr. Elom Hillary Otchi is a consultant in organisation development, healthcare quality, patient safety, and health systems. With a background spanning engagements with organisations such as UNDP, WHO, UNICEF, and GIZ, he has played a pivotal role in supporting countries in formulating and executing national quality policies and strategies. His contributions have been instrumental in establishing robust quality governance systems across all tiers of the healthcare sector, while also empowering national and sub-national quality leads/teams to embed a culture and ethos of quality and patient safety.

In Ghana, Dr. Otchi’s impact is notable, having spearheaded the quality and patient safety programme at the country’s largest teaching hospital, and his mentorship extends to nurturing the next generation of quality and patient safety professionals across the African continent.

Significantly, Dr. Otchi’s expertise extends to international standardisation efforts, as evidenced by his membership in the ISO Technical Committee 304 (TC-304) Healthcare Organisation Management, which developed the ISO 7101:2023 Healthcare Management Quality System Standards. Currently, he serves as a member of the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) Technical Committee 74 Healthcare Management. Furthermore, his recognition as a Fellow and Expert of the International Society for Quality in Healthcare (ISQua), along with his certification as a Hospital Surveyor, underscores his commitment to excellence in healthcare quality.

Dr. Otchi holds a PhD in Public Health with a specialisation in Quality and Patient Safety from the University of Ghana. His expertise and research interests are in organisation development, health systems strengthening, and quality and patient safety. As the Technical Director of the Africa Institute of Healthcare Quality, Safety, and Accreditation (AfIHQSA), he continues to drive innovation and best practices in healthcare quality. Additionally, Dr. Otchi is an author, a reviewer for quality and patient safety journals, and a conference speaker, further amplifying his impact and influence in the field.

Ms Esme Pudule

Esme’s palliative care career path started at Hospice Wits in 1998 as a homecare nurse and in 2004 she became the hospice mentor and managed the Hospice South Region of hospice home care programmes in Gauteng. In 2006 she joined the Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa (HPCA) as Patient Care Officer and Quality Assurance Officer. She underwent COHSASA Surveyor training and with this knowledge coordinated the hospice internal surveys in assessing compliance and implementation of the Standards for Palliative Healthcare Services. This included assessing readiness of organisations for external COHSASA accreditation.

The highlight of her career path was her contribution (from 2008 to 2020) to the development and quality review of the international accredited Standards for Palliative Healthcare Services at community level. Her 35 years in this field have brought her to her current position as the Operational Manager at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital’s Palliative Care Unit.

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.

Dr Cornelle Young

Dr Cornelle Young is a lecturer at Stellenbosch University in the Department of Nursing and Midwifery and has taught outreach courses in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape to senior nurses in management and advanced nursing practices. She is also responsible for the Quality Assurance programme at Stellenbosch University’s Department of Nursing and Midwifery. She worked in the Western Cape Department of Health at a local and provincial level and has experience of private healthcare at both national and international levels (United Arab Emirates).

Professor Sibusiso Zuma

Associate Professor in the Department of Health Studies, Dr. Sibusiso Zuma lectures and supervises post-graduate research in Health Services Management at UNISA, most notably in the fields of Total Quality Management, Medicine Supply Management and Patient Safety.
He is a Doctor of Literature and Philosophy, a Total Quality Management (TQM) Practitioner, and a registered nurse and accoucheur. He has experience in professional nursing practice, health sciences education, research, regulation, administration and in the nursing association arena. He served as the Director of Clinical Quality and Compliance in the Department of Health in the Free State.

He was the Vice-Chairperson of the 16ᵗʰ South African Nursing Council 2018-2023 serving in the Preliminary Investigations, Laws, Practice Standards Committees and as Chairperson of the Technical Working Group for Nursing Practice Standards Development.

He has practised in both public and private health sectors and was Chief Director Clinical Support Services and Technical Advisor for Primary Health Care for the South African Government. He has served as a DENOSA National Executive Committee member, was a member of Editorial Board of the Curationis Journal and Chairperson of DENOSA in the Gauteng Province. He is also the Vice Chairperson of the COHSASA Board.