The Jewish Report Editorial

We can’t keep quiet in the face of wrongdoing

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We have been threatened and cajoled and told that we are bad Jews today as we put this bumper Rosh Hashanah edition to bed. What kind of person runs a story during the month of Elul about a man who made a mistake? Have you no heart? What about his children? The newspaper is destroying his life, we were told by the numerous callers and e-mailers who lambasted us this week.
by PETA KROST MAUNDER | Sep 14, 2017

These people were determined to stop us from running the story of Dr Steven Levy who was found guilty by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) of “performing acts of a sexual nature on his female patients” over a number of years. He was found guilty as charged of violating not one, but three women.

And when he was ordered to stop practising for effectively one year, the pro-forma complainant of the HPCSA requested leave to appeal this sentence He believed the punishment did not fit the crime. He felt the doctor had got off too lightly.

Should we really have kept quiet about a doctor - in general practice - who was doing this to his own patients? Would we be morally right to ignore this and not alert the community? We think not.

Although he has been ordered to suspend his practice for a year, he has chosen not to tell his patients the truth. Telling them that he has “decided to take a well-needed and deserved sabbatical for a year” is not the truth. He knows that, but his patients and those who trust him, don’t.

As the SA Jewish Report, it is our duty to protect the community and to alert them to situations that could harm them. It is also our duty not to be bullied by people who are trying to silence the messenger because they don’t want this man to be seen in a negative light.

We are not trying to caste aspersion on him - he did that perfectly well himself. What we are trying to do is to let the community know the facts so they can make their own decisions.

What will he do one night when one of his patients can’t get hold of his locum and they know he is home and they call him for help? Will he turn them away if they plead with him because they trust him?

On what ground would he do that? He is only believed to be on sabbatical… This is just one of the possible scenarios that could potentially put someone at risk if we did not do our job by telling you the truth.

We are also strengthened by the fact that the real heroines in this situation are those women who stood up to constant harassment and threats to get them to stop pursuing the case against the doctor at the HPCSA.

They didn’t do it for self-gratification; quite the opposite. They stood to gain nothing from this. They did it for those innocents who could potentially unwittingly fall victim to this doctor.

They are brave and are examples to all of us of how important it is to pursue what is right. They are the epitome of being a light unto the nations. Being brave and fighting the good fight is never the easy route - but the right one.

This Rosh Hashanah, these women and their families can be proud. They will start the New Year afresh, knowing that they can let go of the nightmares and the horror of abuse and they have done all they can to prevent this doctor from doing this to any other patient.

We live in a country where sexual violence and abuse is almost endemic. Perpetrators get away with it all the time. Because they get away with it, the cycle continues and worsens.

So many women are afraid to fight the status quo - particularly when there are generally huge odds stacked against them doing so.

We know those people who contacted us today were doing it for what they believe are the right reasons. They wanted to protect someone they care about and his family. We respect that. We also feel for children and families who get caught in the tailspin of exposing wrongdoing.

It is not their fault and they didn’t do any harm. We agree we need to protect them as far as possible. But surely, the person who did the harm could have safeguarded them by seeking help before violating an innocent person?

If the doctor had stopped himself, we would not be in this situation and neither would his family. The situation this doctor is in is not our fault, nor is it the fault of the women who took it to the HPSCA, it lies squarely at the feet of this doctor.

Next week is Rosh Hashanah and this is our special bumper edition to celebrate the festival. We understand that this kind of story is not what we want to read on the High Holy Days, but we could not ignore it either. We need to live in our integrity and follow what we believe is right.

We wish you a Shanah Tovah u’metuka!




  1. 3 Shedi 15 Sep
    Good job. let the people know the truth.
    We don't want people like this in our community.
    Let him immigrate to Israel, they accept all the rubbish.  
  2. 2 simon 16 Sep
    A man made a mistake years ago, and you use that as your feeble excuse to destroy his family now by publishing such harmful words.

    Good luck justifying your Lashon Hara that's spread to thousands, of which each word spoken will add to your heavenly judgement in 3 days time...
  3. 1 nat cheiman 15 Oct
    Agree Simon, wholeheartedly.
    Shedi believes Jews in Israel are rubbish. Perhaps the pot calling the kettle black


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