Dr Sandile Buthelezi appointed new DG for Department of Health

The Department of Health has a new director-general (DG) – Dr Sandile Buthelezi.

During its meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, Cabinet approved Buthelezi’s appointment, according to the very last line of the statement released on Thursday.

The approval is still subject to the verification of his qualifications and the relevant clearance, Cabinet said. 

On 1 November last year, Malebona Matsoso left the post, which she had occupied for almost a decade.


Anban Pillay has been serving as acting director-general since.

At the time, the department said in a statement that Matsoso left the department after she and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize came to a mutual agreement.

She asked to leave the department early to pursue her PhD studies. Her contract would have ended in May 2020.

Buthelezi’s Background

Buthelezi is the CEO of the South African National Aids Council (Sanac).

According to Sanac’s website, he has more than 15 years of experience in health governance, policy and programme management.

After serving as a clinician and later medical superintendent in hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State, he served for 10 years as KwaZulu-Natal’s provincial head of strategic health programmes, which encompassed HIV, TB, maternal child and women’s health, nutrition and communicable diseases.

Before joining Sanac, Buthelezi was South Africa’s country director for ICAP at Columbia University, which is a division of the New York-based Mailman School of Public Health.