“It is regrettable that incorrect information has been spread publicly, in the media and on social media platforms, regarding the lawful termination of the agreement between Medicross and Dr Kroon & Associates Incorporated which came into effect on 1 October 2020, and the subsequent departure of Dr Corrie Kroon and Dr Deon du Preez from Medicross Potchefstroom on 22 January 2021,” says Salome Liebenberg, general manager of operations at Medicross.
She explains that it is important to note that the Court has, on all four occasions when matters have been brought before it, found in favour of Medicross, and against Dr Corrie Kroon & Associates, Drs Kroon and Du Preez, and EXP Healthcare Solutions.
“We can assure the community that Medicross acted in good faith towards all patients and doctors throughout the negotiations regarding the agreement with Dr Kroon & Associates Incorporated.
“Unfortunately the parties could not, despite various attempts and offers made by Medicross to the doctors, reach a mutual agreement. This, and the subsequent actions of Dr Kroon and Dr Du Preez, left Medicross with no alternative but to take legal action.”
According to the termination agreement of 1 October 2020, the departing doctors had to vacate the Medicross premises on 31 December 2020.
“We need to make it clear that, in the interest of patients’ wellbeing and contrary to public statements made by Dr Corrie Kroon, Medicross immediately offered reception and nursing staff to the doctors to enable them to provide services to all their patients with appointments on 22 January 2021. The doctors however chose to immediately leave the premises,” Liebenberg stressed.
The summary of events here below serves to clarify any misinformation which continues to be spread in the community:
- The administration agreement between Medicross and Dr Corrie Kroon & Associates Incorporated was lawfully terminated on 1 October 2020 by Medicross. Prior to the termination, Medicross made four alternative offers to the doctors in order to retain the practice. Regretfully, the doctors did not accept any of the offers and opted to proceed with the termination.
- After the termination of the agreement, and as a result of the conduct of the doctors, the High Court granted an order in Medicross’ favour on 9 December 2020 to provide security for the practice’s outstanding loan account to Medicross. The High Court also ordered the practice to pay punitive costs to Medicross.
- Despite this court order, the doctors’ attorney threatened Medicross on 10 December 2020 that his client will not vacate the property after 31 December 2020, notwithstanding the fact that the agreement would come to an end on such date. Medicross then sought an undertaking from the doctors via their attorney that they will adhere to the contract and vacate the premises on 31 December 2020. Such an undertaking was not forthcoming from the doctors.
- All agreements between Medicross and the doctors finally came to an end on 31 December 2020. Drs Kroon and Du Preez, with the assistance of their newly appointed administrator, EXP Healthcare Solutions (Pty) Ltd, took the law into their own hands on 1 January 2021 and unlawfully took occupation of the property that Medicross leases from Icebreakers 96 (Pty) Ltd.
- Despite a further letter of demand on 3 January 2021 requesting the doctors to cease their unlawful conduct, they unfortunately persisted with such conduct. On 4 January 2021 it escalated in that the doctors unlawfully used Medicross’ stock and assets for their own gain.
- Medicross therefore had no alternative but to approach the High Court for urgent assistance for the doctors to adhere to the terms and conditions of the agreement. The High Court granted the requested relief in favour of Medicross on 13 January 2021.
- It is of paramount importance to note that the High Court expressed its dismay with the doctors’ unlawful “self-help” conduct, describing it as “common theft”. The High Court ordered the doctors and EXP Healthcare Solutions to vacate the premises and to restore Medicross’ occupation thereof.
- On 19 January 2021 a majority of the landlord’s (Icebreakers) shareholders voted against the unlawful conduct of Drs Kroon and Du Preez and EXP Healthcare Solutions. This meant that Medicross’ rights in terms of the lease agreement were also upheld by the shareholders.
- An Application for Leave to Appeal to the High Court by the doctors and EXP Healthcare Solutions against the court order of 13 January 2021 was dismissed in favour of Medicross on 20 January 2021.
- Medicross submitted an application to the High Court requesting the authorisation to proceed with the court ruling of 13 January 2021, notwithstanding the doctors and/or EXP Healthcare Solutions approaching another court in order to appeal such judgement. Medicross’ application was successful and the Sheriff restored Medicross in possession of the property on 22 January 2021.
“We are pleased to confirm that doctor services at Medicross Potchefstroom commenced again on Monday, 25 January 2021. The well-known Dr Alphonso Raats and Dr Andries Vorster that has been serving the community for over 23 years and newly appointed Dr Candice Koekemoer are available Mondays to Fridays from 08:00 – 17:00 and Saturdays from 08:00 – 13:00 and Sundays from 10:00 – 12:00. Appointments can be made at 018 293 7800. Dental and day theatre services continued throughout the legal proceedings.
“We thank the community for their understanding while we were regrettably unable to serve them with doctor services and look forward to providing them once again with quality primary care services,” Liebenberg concluded.
Please see attached:
- The High Court judgement of 9 December 2020.
- The High Court judgment of 13 January 2021 and the appeal withdrawal of the doctors and EXP Healthcare Solutions.
Issued by: MNA on behalf of Medicross
Contact: Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville or Estene Lotriet-Vorster
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org