Former Zimbabwean-Born UJ Lecturer Accuses Varsity Lawyer of Unlawful Access to Medical Records

Former Zimbabwean-Born UJ Lecturer Accuses Varsity Lawyer of Unlawful Access to Medical Records

A former lecturer at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) has leveled accusations against the university’s legal representative for obtaining her medical records without proper authorization.

Lyness Matizirofa, a former faculty member in the statistics department at UJ, was terminated from her position in February 2020 on grounds of alleged poor performance and dishonesty, allegations she vehemently denies.

Allegations against UJ by Lyness Matizirofa

Matizirofa, originally from Zimbabwe, contends that her dismissal was unjust, attributing it to xenophobia and discrimination due to her disability. She alleges that UJ, in collaboration with its legal representative, Eversheds and Sutherland (SA) INC, orchestrated her dismissal using confidential medical information.

According to Matizirofa, Nadia Foreman, a legal practitioner at Eversheds and Sutherland and a UJ HR practitioner, conspired to access her medical report without her consent on August 29, 2019, well before her termination in March 2020.

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Former lecturer Lyness Matizirofa
Former UJ Lecturer accuses lawyer of getting unlawful medical records-Image Source@LinkedIn

Matizirofa claims that former vice-chancellor Professor Tshilidzi Marwala sanctioned her dismissal after determining that accommodating her disability would incur additional expenses. Despite submitting a report requesting reasonable accommodation, Matizirofa alleges that UJ failed to address her concerns adequately.

Legal Proceedings

Matizirofa’s legal representative, advocate Macgregor Kufa, argued before Commissioner Piet van Staden at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) that the unauthorized access to her medical records violated her human rights.

While Nadia Foreman acknowledged receiving the medical records, she claimed uncertainty regarding the timing and denied any mistreatment of Matizirofa.

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Kufa emphasized that the actions of UJ and its legal representatives constitute a violation of Matizirofa’s human rights, citing constitutional provisions and international agreements protecting individuals from discrimination based on factors such as race, gender, and disability.

Legal Action

In July 2023, Matizirofa lodged a complaint with the Legal Practice Council against Foreman, colleague Sandro Milo, and Eversheds and Sutherland, accusing them of employing discriminatory tactics to obstruct her pursuit of justice.

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