Intercare 20 years

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EDI TOR AND W RI T E R: E L M ARI RAU T E NB AC H Published by Tip Africa Publishing

Here’s to a remarkable 20-year journey, and the start of a new one TWENTY YEARS AGO, George Veliotes and I founded Intercare with the purpose of making people feel better. We started the Intercare journey when we opened the first Intercare Medical & Dental Centre in Pretoria in 2002. Although we had to overcome several obstacles and steep learning curves, Intercare has evolved to be leaders in health. Reflecting upon the past 20 years, I’m grateful for, and humbled by, the growth of the company. This would not have been possible without the hard work of our healthcare providers and other team members and the overwhelming support of our customers. Thank you for your dedication and loyalty, which have contributed to earning the company the respect it’s enjoying today. The success we’ve achieved can be attributed to the never-ending process of investing in good relationships and surrounding ourselves with capable and trustworthy people. For tomorrow’s leaders, my advice will be to make decisions with speed and conviction, as a wrong decision is often better than no decision at all. Never say die; be quick to adjust your sails when the wind changes; make plans, turn hope into action, never stop trying.



HENDRIK HANEKOM AND I started the Intercare journey 20 years ago and it’s almost unbelievable how much we have achieved since picturing – on a whiteboard – an innovative one-stop health centre that offers comprehensive medical and dental services associated with a retail pharmacy. These design principles, our values and our core purpose of making people feel better have steadfastly guided us throughout this formative phase and still remain at the heart of the business. 27 May 2022 marks the 20th anniversary of the official opening of the first Intercare Medical & Dental facility in Glenfair, Pretoria. Since that day, Intercare has shown phenomenal growth. We were fortunate and are very grateful to the many people who contributed to building this leader in the healthcare industry. A big thank you to Hendrik for his integrity and our fabulous partnership. Thank you to the management team and employees for their dedication and hard work. Thank you to the medical, dental and other health professionals who joined the Intercare family and made it their home. A special thanks to the investors, advisers and Mediclinic Southern Africa, our partner since 2017. Our ultimate reward, however, is the millions of customers who have trusted us with their care and wellbeing. For that, we are truly grateful. This milestone is the beginning of a new journey with enormous growth prospects. The Intercare model fully aligns with international and local healthcare developments. We are future-fit and excited to continue this journey with you, our dedicated Intercare family.




The look and feel of Intercare has undergone a minor revolution during the past 20 years. * Deon Viljoen and Amanda Hanekom reveal how *Deon is Intercare’s architect, and Amanda the brand standards and process auditor



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AMANDA SAYS: Below: “We lowered reception counters so that patients’ first sight approaching is not of a pair of eyes peeking out above a high surface.”



DEON SAYS: Right: “Intercare’s brief was to turn a visit to the doctor or dentist into a more pleasant experience; to bring the home into the consulting room. Think comfortable chairs and couches, not in apparent rows, soft floor finishes where it was practically feasible, acoustic ceiling to dampen sounds.” Waiting area


AMANDA SAYS: “Colour is important not just for mood creation but also for its subliminal impact. The deep blue walls, combined with natural wood panelling, have a calming effect in the dental waiting room. In the recovery rooms, we use orange as the colour increases blood pressure after a theatre procedure.”

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incl. 9 hospitals

Dental waiting room 9


DEON SAYS: “Until recently, it was a paper world, with patient files that had to be pulled from filing cabinets and taken to the doctor. Still, sterility was a priority. We had to take that into account by subtly separating patient flow and nursing without making staff walk further.”


13 0 Medical waiting area

m2 of filing cabinets

files now stored electronically



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AMANDA SAYS: “When the old box TVs and video cassette players were ‘retired’, we opted for a more interactive kiddies corner. The Lego wall is trendy and the grass interior a playful, tactile reminder of nature.”




1 88 from the boot of a car

from Head Office, established in 2004

AMANDA SAYS: “We use soft furnishings, even in the medical consulting rooms. Chairs are upholstered in velvet or corduroy for a soft, ‘homey’ feel, and we use carpet blocks instead of cold vinyl. They’re easy to clean or replace.”


Medical consulting room 15

AMANDA SAYS: “When we planned Intercare, a major bone of contention was whether we should have separate waiting areas for doctors and dentists. Doctors said the screaming kids in the dental consulting room would upset their patients. So, we kept the peace by starting with two waiting areas. Now, we mostly have one combined.”


430 12 720 16

Dental consulting room 17

The story behind Intercare

Two offices, two countries and two men talking . . . Up to three times a day and every Sunday evening, the calls span the globe like clockwork. “That’s how we built Intercare,” George Veliotes says. “And how we still do.” From the fourth-floor window of his study, the healthcare group’s chairperson has an unobstructed view of the Greek city of Athens, the hills covered by a patchwork quilt of cream and white buildings stretching towards a hazy horizon. On the shelf behind his desk, his

George Veliotes

University of Pretoria MBChB degree and MBA from Wits certificates take pride of place next to photographs


Hendrik Hanekom

of his doctor wife, Angie, and their four children. Thousands of miles away in Pretoria, Hendrik Hanekom swipes to connect his iPhone. The chief executive’s office is in the company headquarters in

bottom shelf, a row of thick medical books ending with the door-stopper Harrison’s Internal Medicine flanks an ink bottle and quill. The painting could have been the focal point at the head

the shopping centre on Lynnwood’s tree-lined Glenfair

office entrance. It captures both the course of Hendrik

Boulevard. Facing his desk is a single, striking painting,

and George’s partnership and the dream that drove two

a gift from his family on his 55th birthday.

medical doctors with limited capital to create a company

It’s an image of two bookshelves. On the top shelf, a selection of business books, including Jim Collins’s Good

that, 20 years later, is a frontrunner in the industry. And to think it started with a retrenchment, a whiteboard

to Great, The Living Company and Rethinking the Future,

and a dormant trademark a few weeks away from the

stand side by side with a vintage bottle of red; on the

new millennium …


Lessons from America


Charming, with a ramrod posture,

for a brief update. ‘Dr Hendrik’ is in the house.

1992 and finding a kindred spirit. “I was the secretary-general of the

white moustache and blue eyes commanding attention, Hendrik has natural charisma. At 67, he walks fast and purposefully, opening doors as he shows off the Intercare Glenfair facilities: the consulting rooms, the procedure room and waiting rooms, the signature colour scheme in soft blue, grey and yellow that radiate serenity. Up the steps he goes, down the circular corridors, past the adjoining door to Dis-Chem and the elegant artworks adorning the walls and spaces bathed in light, greeting staff, exchanging pleasantries or stopping

On 27 May 2002, Intercare Glenfair, the group’s first multi-disciplinary medical and dental centre, opened. Since then, the business has grown to 24 medical and dental centres, four day hospitals, four sub-acute and rehabilitation hospitals and one specialised hospital, attracting substantial investment in 2017 by Mediclinic. “I won’t lie; it was a rocky path up to this point,” Hendrik says. “Still, the windfalls far outweighed the setbacks.” One fortunate and unexpected event was meeting George Veliotes in

South African Medical Association (SAMA), having practised as a GP for seven years. George was a medical doctor doing his MBA. “Traditionally, the SAMA acted as a trade union for doctors. On the brink of a new millennium, though, there was a need for a fresh approach. A friend of mine who was with IBM helped me with strategic planning. “He kept emphasising that the world was moving in a customercentric direction; as an umbrella organisation, such as the SAMA, we had to help our customers help theirs. Not all doctors were open to this new

FROM MEDICINE TO BUSINESS Hendrik’s birthday gift that captures the two phases of his (and George’s) career.

‘RETIRE’ WHILE WORKING! Glenfair’s Dr Siebert van Onselen remembers how grateful everyone was when patients pitched up on opening day and how Hendrik sorted out problems from the boot of his car because he didn’t yet have an office.

direction. Solo practices were the status quo then and many preferred

of the important opinion leaders I interviewed.”

their autonomy. “As part of my job, I travelled extensively. I met with doctors and dentists countrywide and visited the German, British and Canadian medical associations to see what they were doing. However, a trip to the American Medical Association opened my eyes, particularly learning from the Michigan State Medical Society. They were leaders in what was becoming a growing trend in healthcare: the multi-disciplinary group practice. George came to the same conclusion by following a different route. Silver-haired and strongfeatured, as befits his Greek heritage, George has a way of weighing his words before he speaks. He comes from an entrepreneurial family but went into medicine to care for people. Afterwards, he decided to combine the two disciplines by enrolling for an MBA, focusing on the medical scheme industry. “Or, as someone put it,” he says in a deep, rumbling voice, “they can

In 1992, George published his ground-breaking book on managed care, co-authored by Reg Magennis and Malcolm Brown. When he met up with Hendrik again, Hendrik’s first words were, “Why don’t you join us?” With George as the head of the SAMA health policy and private practice divisions, the two men started working closely to transform the medical profession. They went on repeated roadshows to prepare doctors for what was coming, Hendrik always with the mantra ‘Don’t resist change; be a catalyst to change’. “Even then, we’d often find ourselves in Hendrik’s office at the end of a day, jotting down concepts we envisaged for a future healthcare delivery model,” George says. “One of our competitors had already gone into group practices with a small dispensary. Our model, we said, would be different. We would combine retail and pharmacy with medical and dental. While the other entrant was mainly in suburban

do with help; they desperately need to change! “My research showed the important role managed care would play in restructuring medical schemes and healthcare globally. Hendrik was one

areas, we approached location from the customer’s viewpoint. A retail environment offered the convenience of ample parking, easy access, visibility and a one-stop shopping trip.


SEEN IN THE STATES Hendrik describes the concept that he came across as the consolidation and integration of patient-centric care. It means bringing a group of multi-disciplinary healthcare professionals together under one roof and centralising shared services, such as finance, IT, human resources and marketing. “The trend touches on all the pressure points in healthcare globally. Patients have access to cost-effective quality care; doctors save on the time-consuming cost of running a business. It places the patient first while freeing the doctor or dentist to concentrate on what they know best. “In Michigan they even had the specifics of an ideal group practice. The number of doctors, for example, should be between five and nine. Too small, you don’t have an economy of scale; too large, decision-making becomes a problem. “I was inspired.”

“We even had a name, Intercare, combining ‘integrated’ and ‘healthcare’,” he continues. “I registered the brand and trademark for Intercare Managed Health Care in 1992 – complete with a small, red apple as a logo – just in case.” In 1997, George relocated to Greece to join the family-founded insurance business, the leading insurance company in south-eastern Europe.


It was a difficult decision to leave. George would stay in close contact with the SAMA but parting ways, the two men vowed they would start a business together one day. Hendrik, in the meantime, had accepted the position of executive chairman of a newly formed company affiliated with the SAMA. “Unfortunately, the financial backer pulled out, retrenching me on the

spot. With a few weeks left before the new millennium, I was cut loose with three months’ salary.” When George heard the news, he took the next plane from Europe. Hendrik flew from Nature’s Valley, where he was on Christmas holiday with his family, and the two met in Kempton Park, in George’s family offices. “George suggested two options:

either I look for a job in the industry or we start the business we pictured years ago on a whiteboard. The second would be more challenging, but infinitely more rewarding. “I opted for number two. Putting down R20 000 each, we formed Novahealth on 21 February 2000 with the aim of pioneering healthcare innovation. “The name of our business model? Intercare.”

Amanda Hanekom typed up the business plan at home.

A handshake and two babies

“We sealed the deal – initially by handshake only.”

COUPLES THAT WORK TOGETHER Amanda is the one who keeps husband Hendrik’s enthusiasm in check regarding what’s practical.

As part of George’s agreement with the Medical Association, he wrote the curriculum and lectured parttime for the mini-MBA offered by the SAMA’s Foundation for Professional Development (another of Hendrik’s initiatives). One of his students was a pharmacist, Trevor Milton. “Trevor mentioned we might want to talk to Clicks because a group of pharmacists, Purchase Milton and Associates (PM&A), was negotiating a deal with the retail chain. We could add the medical side. “Clicks had been working towards a model that would allow pharmacists to operate within Clicks stores; however, the Pharmacy Act prohibited corporates from owning pharmacies at that stage. “It was March 2000. Trevor helped


secure a meeting with Peter Green, Clicks’ CFO. Amanda, Hendrik’s wife, typed up the Intercare business plan at home and we flew to Cape Town.” Hendrik remembers how nervous they were when they approached the company headquarters in Searle Street in Cape Town’s city bowl. “We didn’t need to be. There was an instant connection. We sealed a deal – initially by handshake only – whereby New Clicks Holdings bought an 80% stake in Intercare to establish and pilot its first medical and dental centre and added a loan to develop the project further. “What a momentous day. In addition, George had to leave early

when his wife called from Greece to say she had gone into labour and his youngest son was on his way!” The search for the best premises for their first centre led the team to Lynnwood’s Glenfair Boulevard. “There was a large storage space that Checkers had vacated,” Hendrik says. “It had a convenient exit onto the centre’s parking lot and a bonus, a shopfront inside, leased by Cash Crusaders and a paint shop. “Clicks introduced us to Sanlam, the landlords, and it didn’t take much persuasion for them to move the two tenants out. Clicks could also help us with the building contractors; we had to decide on the layout and design

flow, as well as the look and feel.” “We were lucky to have the Clicks’ in-house designer, Dirk van der Merwe, help us with our logo design and corporate colours, based on blue for health and green for nature,” Amanda Hanekom says. She’s a no-nonsense blonde woman who’s a perfect fit for the position of Intercare’s brand standards and process auditor and who, her husband says, keeps his boundless enthusiasm in check with regard to what’s practical. “We visited several clinics and hospitals to see what we wanted layout-wise, I remember the oncology unit at The Little Company of Mary

“George had to leave early when his wife called from Greece to say she had gone into labour and his youngest son was on his way!” FAMILY TIES (from far left): George, his wife, Angie, and their brood of four. Nicholas on the right arrived with Intercare; Hendrik and Amanda with their grandkids; Hendrik’s son, Hendri, is exec: group strategy and innovation and his daughter, Corli, is a speech therapist at Intercare Tyger Valley; the Hanekom clan. 24

and several clinics …” she says. Hendrik: “We wanted to be different.” Amanda: “No straight-backed chairs in maroon, with plasticcovered seats …” Hendrik: “… arranged in tight classroom rows.” Amanda: “And no payment booth behind glass, with a prominent ‘Pay Point’ sign, next to our exit.” Hendrik: “We wanted an inviting, warm environment, where everyone’s priority was to listen and help. And that went for every point of contact: from the receptionist and the doctor to the accountant.” A series of workshops followed,

roping in doctors and dentists who had expressed an interest in the new project. Hendrik’s architect friend, Deon Viljoen from Deoplan Architects, came on board, as well as interior decorator Marion Allen. 27 May 2002 dawned, and Clicks’ annual report for that year could announce the successful opening of the first Intercare pilot project in Pretoria, providing ‘routine family medicine, dental health services, radiology and sonar, pathology, physiotherapy, audiology, speech therapy, optometry, dietetics and biokinetics’ all under one roof. On the same day, a LinkMax pharmacy opened as a tenant of Intercare. Dr Siebert van Onselen remembers everyone’s relief on opening day when patients arrived. “I even remember the name of my first patient and how Hendrik managed things going wrong from the boot of his car because he didn’t have an office.” A year later, a second medical and dental centre opened in Fourways. Plans were already underway to open a third in Tyger Valley and a fourth in the Blaauwberg centre on Cape Town’s western seaboard when Clicks threw a spanner in the works.

DESIGNING GUIDELINES Architect Deon Viljoen from Deoplan Architects says all the senses play a role in designing a health facility. “Take the smell of spirits, for example, or the clang of surgical steel dishes. It creates tension. You want to avoid that. We even arched the long corridor walls (above) to the doctors’ surgeries to break up sound and create the perception of shorter distances. Since 2002, data came, folders went, LED lights replaced light bulbs, we had to build in energy saving, and more is done in the consulting and dentist rooms than before. To keep ahead of the curve, I treat every new facility as the first.”


When your investor pulls out Clicks CFO Peter Green called Hendrik. “Peter told me that in light of the changes to pharmacies’ ownership and licensing legislation in South Africa, Clicks obtained regulatory approval to buy the PM&A network of pharmacies and wanted to ‘review’ its shareholding role in Intercare. The group proposed to sell the business to another stakeholder. “It was a blow to the gut.” George was travelling in Switzerland when he saw the incoming call from Hendrik. “The news was serious,” he says. “It could have jeopardised everything. “My feeling was, why don’t we try to be part of the process and suggest a management buy-out instead? Hendrik flew to Cape Town to meet with the Clicks people, taking our lawyer, Div Lessing.”

“We were fortunate that we had an excellent relationship with Peter and that he supported the business model,” continues Hendrik. “In the end, not only did he agree to the buyout but, in an unprecedented move, proposed that Clicks would lend us the R50 million to do so. This offer was a tremendous relief because we now faced the additional costs of setting up our own head office, corporate services, HR and IT system. Previously, Clicks took care of that.” A year later, Peter Green left Clicks and, for a second time, Hendrik received a summons from the group’s CFO. “The new CFO told me in no uncertain terms that he didn’t want the Intercare loan on his balance sheet. We approached Standard Bank. Then we had another of our lucky breaks: Clicks offered a corporate guarantee to Standard

Paying back the monthly instalments on such a loan over and above the running costs of the existing business was not for the faint-hearted. 26

HENDRIK: “Clicks agreeing to lend us the money to pay back what they had invested in us in the first place was an enormous breakthrough. But hell, a loan that size …” GEORGE: “We still had control.” HENDRIK: “Driving back to the airport and being early for our flight, Div and I were so overcome by mixed feelings that we decided to take a detour to a wine estate, where we finished a bottle of wine – or two – in record time.” AMANDA (drily): “When Hendrik arrived home saying we owed R50 million, I decided to go back to work, lecturing full-time. We had one kid at university and another in high school and needed the regular income.”

Bank in case of a default on our side. We couldn’t afford any default as we would lose our entire business.” Paying back the monthly instalments on such a loan over and above the running costs of the existing business was not for the faint-hearted, though, Hendrik says. “Especially when we decided to forge ahead with the next growth phase. “Our budget was so tight, I remember Amanda leading the debtors’ department to sort and print the patient invoices and our

domestic worker, Martha Mahlangu, helping fold them to fit the window envelopes.” In August 2006, the first Intercare sub-acute and rehabilitation hospital opened in Tyger Valley. “Shortly after that, we received an exciting proposition. Property investors King Financial Holdings (Kingfin) was developing a new shopping centre in Walmer, Port Elizabeth (now Gqeberha) and wanted us as a tenant. “We needed to expand, so we signed an agreement whereby Kingfin

acquired a 40% share in all future Intercare facilities. We opened eight medical and dental centres across the country in the following two years.” In the global landscape, however, storm clouds were gathering. In 2008 and 2009, two events occurred that would dramatically change the financial landscape: the one international and the other local, directly impacting Intercare. The start of the global financial crisis in 2007 eventually pushed the world’s banking system to implode.

Wall Street’s Lehman Brothers, one of the oldest, wealthiest and most influential investment banks in the world, filed for bankruptcy in September 2008, causing stock markets worldwide to crash and leading to the deepest recession since the Second World War. Locally, the effects were as dire. One of the companies to collapse was the King group. “When the group – and in effect, Kingfin – was liquidated in August 2009, we found ourselves in the precarious position of having a 27

Imagine arranging a practice through phone calls, and hanging pictures, moving furniture and setting up consulting rooms looking at video screens . . .

With the opening of the Woodburn Medical & Dental centre during the pandemic in 2020, that was exactly what happened. When a new Intercare branch opens, a delegation from the head office moves in during the last few weeks to help; IT with installation and training, Amanda and her team to do the layout of the practice’s furniture, HR to do training, the handymen with tools for the unforeseen. Usually this team stays until opening day. Woodburn was due to open 6 April 2020 in Pietermaritzburg. The teams’ tickets and accommodation were booked. Then, Covid happened. The business unit manager, Roxy Naidoo and Amanda arranged everything virtually, and the centre opened on time!


liquidator as a shareholder in part of our business,” Hendrik says. “We were also cash-strapped, having signed building contracts and leases for Glen Marais and Woodhill. We ended up with an additional loan from a Free State group, Verspreide Beleggings, and a few other investors.” Nonetheless, the day arrived that Hendrik dreaded: they would not make payroll. “I went to Ivan Saltzman, DisChem’s founder, asking for help. There were Dis-Chem shops next to several of our centres and I wanted to offer him a shareholding. “Ivan was sitting behind his desk when I made my case. Halfway through, he stopped me and asked, ‘How much do you need?’ “‘R10 million.’ “He reached to his back pocket – sy

book. He licked the tip of his finger and paged until he found a blank cheque, then wrote ‘10 million’ and handed me the ripped-out page before putting the booklet back in his pocket. We shook on it. “At the office, I gave the cheque to Sylvia Pharaoh, head of creditors, and asked her to drop everything and cash it. Shortly afterwards, she called, ‘The bank says sorry; they can’t cash a R10 million cheque. The amount per cheque must be no more than R5 million.’ “I had no choice. I had to get back in my car, drive back to Kya Sand, go to Ivan’s office again and meekly ask for two cheques of R5 million each, please …”

gatsak – and pulled out a doublefolded green Nedbank cheque

were genuinely privileged,” George says today.

Mediclinic and a bright future “We had people who believed in us. We had investors supporting us. We


“In 2012, we opened the first of our four day hospitals in Hazeldean. We opened another three sub-acute hospitals and, in 2018, acquired a shareholding in the Medfem Fertility Clinic in Bryanston, now known as the Intercare Medfem Hospital. “Even though the concept of day hospitals was relatively new then, it aligned with our model and all international healthcare developments. Day hospitals perform procedures from knee replacements to dental surgeries on a same-day basis. Together with sub-acute and rehabilitation hospitals, they ease the burden on acute hospitals, while patients benefit from lower hospital costs and less risk of hospitalacquired infections. “In 2017, we had another significant breakthrough: Mediclinic’s acquisition of a substantial shareholding in our business. This investment allowed us to clean up our balance sheet, leaving us to control our destiny. It also gave the business the necessary resources to fund significant future growth.” George says there are several reasons he is optimistic about the future.

When Mediclinic’s investment became official on 4 August 2017, the team celebrated the landmark event appropriately. Here are Hendri Hanekom, CFO Lou van Vuuren, lawyer Div Lessing, and Hendrik.

“The Intercare model is well positioned for the post-Covid era. We have invested considerably in new technologies. Our hybrid model – where the patient can choose between going to the doctor or consulting one virtually – is gaining traction fast. “You can call Covid-19 an accelerator in this regard. From the start of ‘hard lockdown’ in March 2020, it took us a fortnight before we rolled out our first virtual consultations during the Easter weekend.” Hendrik says something vital they’ve realised is that they don’t need to own everything to extend their clinical reach. “Technology plays an increasingly important role in leveraging partnerships with other role players, such as Unjani Clinics, to offer care beyond our traditional

Intercare’s success is enabling doctors to concentrate on what they trained for in the first place. Glenfair’s Dr Siebert van Onselen mentions invoices and administrative red tape. “At Intercare, professionals take care of that on our behalf.” At 75, he says, he has the added advantage of carrying a lighter load while still being of service. “Not many doctors in private practice can really say that.” The future is about adapting and staying abreast of trends, says Hendrik. “It’s about enhancing access to affordable, quality, integrated healthcare.” He and George did away with the visions and missions of the past and, as a company guided by their values, coined a single core purpose for the next 20 years: making people feel better.

Intercare facilities.” He also believes a big part of

“Now, everyone at Intercare can be a catalyst for change.”


One company, two decades, with key highlights marking the years


1 JUNE INTERCARE Clicks becomes 80% shareholder of Intercare, pitched by Novahealth (the company formed by Drs Hendrik Hanekom and George Veliotes in 2000); Novahealth repurchases its shares in 2004

Tyger Valley Medical & Dental Centre opens

28 FEBRUARY Dr Carlo Urbani of Doctors without Borders alerts World Health Organisation to threat of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in Hanoi, Vietnam; succumbs to SARS virus a month later

2 NOVEMBER Blaauwberg Medical & Dental Centre opens

24 APRIL Mark Shuttleworth becomes first South African space tourist

27 MAY First Intercare Medical & Dental Centre opens in Glenfair mall, Lynnwood, Pretoria


JULY The New York Times Magazine publishes ‘What If It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?’; subject – fat might not be bad for you after all

Acupuncture provides effective treatment for chronic headaches, according to UK experts in study published in The British Medical Journal 15 AUGUST Roland Schoeman, Lyndon Ferns, Darian Townsend and Ryk Neethling break world record in 4 x 100m freestyle relay at Olympic Games, Athens

21 MARCH TRC releases final document to President Thabo Mbeki

17 JUNE Fourways Medical & Dental Centre opens

2003 25 APRIL Changes to legislation governing ownership and licensing of pharmacies in South Africa published in Government Gazette, paving way for New Clicks Holdings (NCL) to implement strategy of owning chain of retail pharmacies (previously only pharmacists could own pharmacies)

2004 4 FEBRUARY Mark Zuckerberg (19) goes live with [thefacebook] in Harvard dorm room; launches internationally in February 2005 as Facebook BOXING DAY Magnitude 9.0 Indian Ocean tsunami and earthquake strike Sumatra Island, Indonesia, devastating 11 countries and killing 230 000 people (including four South Africans)


29 AUGUST Hurricane Katrina strikes coast of Louisiana and Mississippi; New Orleans submerged and becomes toxic pool of sewage, chemicals and corpses as a result of delayed relief efforts

21 MARCH Twitter launched by Jack Dorsey (29) and Evan Williams (33); first called Status, then twttr, referring to ‘short bursts of inconsequential information, and chirps from birds’

27 NOVEMBER French surgeons led by Dr JeanMichel Dubernard in Lyon, France, successfully perform world’s first partial face transplant on Isabelle Dinoire (38), six months after a disfiguring dog attack

9 JANUARY Steve Jobs unveils Apple iPhone

16 APRIL Irene Medical & Dental Centre opens

3 SEPTEMBER Parow Medical & Dental Centre opens

16 OCTOBER 6 MARCH Tsotsi wins Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film



14 FEBRUARY Roelof Botha, grandson of longserving Foreign Minister Pik Botha, helps fund launch of YouTube; in 2021, Botha is ranked ninth on Forbes Midas List of venture capitalists

31 AUGUST Scientists in Newcastle, UK, produce human embryo by cloning human embryonic stem cells 32

9 NOVEMBER Walmer Medical & Dental Centre opens

Intercare Head Office opens in Glenfair, Pretoria


Silver Lakes Medical & Dental Centre opens

First Sub-acute Hospital opens in Tyger Valley


20 OCTOBER Springboks win Rugby World Cup for second time, beating defending champions England 15-6 in Paris; Victor Matfield is Man of the Match Pinnacle TPN Management System introduced – controls intravenous formulations for patients who rely on tube feeding

18 MARCH Gonubie Medical & Dental Centre opens

3 MARCH Convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik released on medical parole

UCT’s Prof. Elmi Muller performs world’s first kidney transplant between HIV-positive patient and HIV-positive donor, Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town

1 JUNE Glen Marais Medical & Dental Centre opens 18 JULY First #MandelaDay celebrates Mandela’s 91st birthday

25 AUGUST Woodhill Medical & Dental Centre opens

10 SEPTEMBER Wilgeheuwel Medical & Dental Centre opens


Autism tied to genes that influence brain cell connections, three US studies find

2009 15 SEPTEMBER Investment bank Lehman Brothers collapses, triggering worst global financial crisis in living memory

19 NOVEMBER Wonderboom Medical & Dental Centre opens

Real-time electronic claims to medical schemes introduced 11 JUNE Siphiwe Tshabalala scores iconic FIFA World Cup goal versus Mexico. South Africa is first African country to host World Cup; Spain defeat Holland 1-0 in final at Soccer City, Soweto 6 OCTOBER Instagram founded by Kevin Systrom (27) and Mike Krieger (24) in California; idea: photo sharing with filters to make your pics look professional First living, man-made cell created at Craig Venter’s US Institute (Venter also led first human genome mapping project in 2000)


20 JANUARY Barack Obama inaugurated as 44th and first black US President 24 FEBRUARY Ukrainian-American Jan Koum (33) sends first WhatsApp on platform created by him and Brian Acton (37) in California; app name is pun on slang greeting, ‘What’s up?’

23 MARCH Obamacare (significant yet controversial healthcare reform) signed into law in USA

25 AUGUST Investor King Financial Holdings (Kingfin, part of the King Group) liquidated


JULY Outbreak of mysterious childhood ‘nodding syndrome’ in southern Sudan 11 MARCH Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster triggered by tsunami, following magnitude 9.0 earthquake in Pacific Ocean SEPTEMBER Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), largest single-optical telescope in southern hemisphere and known as Africa’s Giant Eye on the Universe, becomes operational outside Sutherland in Northern Cape

2011 MAY Former Pretoria Boys’ High pupil Elon Musk signs NASA contract for SpaceX Dragon, first commercial vehicle to deliver supplies to International Space Station

2 APRIL Amanzimtoti Medical Centre opens

2 MAY George Medical Centre opens

12 SEPTEMBER Hazeldean Day & Subacute Hospitals open APRIL Landmark study by scientists from UK and Canada reveals breast cancer is 10 separate diseases – each with different cause, different life expectancy and needing different treatment

NOVEMBER The Real Meal Revolution cookbook by Tim Noakes, Jonno Proudfoot, Sally-Ann Creed and David Grier released (widely credited with sparking Banting diet)

SEPTEMBER World’s first digital laser invented by doctoral candidate and CSIR researcher Sandile Nqcobo


2012 31 JULY Chad le Clos (20) wins gold in 200m butterfly, beating Olympic legend and world record holder Michael Phelps with 0.05 seconds; dad Bert’s reaction on BBC TV goes viral, Chad nicknamed ‘Unbelievable’ 16 AUGUST SAPS open fire on crowd of striking mineworkers at Marikana, North West, leaving 34 miners dead, 78 seriously injured


14 FEBRUARY Oscar Pistorius shoots and kills girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day, leading to firstever live broadcast in South African history of a criminal trial.

17 APRIL Irene Day & Sub-acute Hospitals open

APRIL South Africa’s Dr Trevor Mundel appointed President of Global Health for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; grant budget R130 billion; goal – to eradicate polio, malaria

First online appointments; first electronic medical records Online diary viewer for doctors and dentists introduced

7 JULY Century City Day Hospital & Century City Medical Centre open

8 MARCH Salubrity launched, enabling delivery of screening, wellness and disease management services throughout group; since 2020, part of Corporate Services

OCTOBER Scientists in North California successfully grew six functional male penises by using bioengineering technology (potential solution for men who have lost theirs to injury or disease)

9 DECEMBER Nenegate: President Zuma appoints and fires three finance ministers in four days, replacing Nhlanhla Nene with David van Rooyen, and Van Rooyen with Pravin Gordhan when rand crashes 5 AUGUST Mining town of Orkney hit with magnitude 5.5 earthquake (90 seconds, 1 fatality), the biggest since Tulbagh earthquake in 1969


8 MARCH Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappears without trace en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing 17 JULY Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 shot down over Ukraine en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur


6 JUNE Panorama Medical Centre opens

APRIL FDA approves first clinical trial to establish if smoking marijuana has positive medical benefits for patients with PTSD


12 OCTOBER 48.3°C – temperature recorded at Vredendal, Western Cape, making it record hottest day on Earth

13 NOVEMBER Co-ordinated terrorist attacks at music concert and restaurants of Stade de France, Paris, kill 130 people, leaving hundreds injured; follows January attack on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo offices, sparking viral #JeSuisCharlie on Twitter

9 NOVEMBER Donald Trump elected President of the US, defeating Hillary Clinton in election victory that defies all polls and predictions 4 AUGUST Wayde van Niekerk wins 400m gold at Rio Olympics in world record 43.03s, beating Michael Johnson’s 43.18 record of 1999 35

9 JANUARY 4 AUGUST Mediclinic Southern Africa announces sizeable investment in Intercare group

Sandton Medical Centre, Sandton Day & Sub-acute Hospitals open

JUNE Female medical technician and drone pilot Lebohang Lebogo operates first blood delivery drone for South African National Blood Service

26 SEPTEMBER Summerstrand Medical Centre opens


More than 1 million patients served per year

9 OCTOBER Mall@55 Medical & Dental Centre opens

1 MARCH Acquires shares in Medfem Fertility Clinic in Bryanston, now known as Intercare Medfem Hospital 454 014 – total number of deaths from TB recorded by Stats SA, making it 2018’s biggest killer





TIME votes UCT’s Prof. Glenda Gray as one of world’s 100 most influential people

14 FEBRUARY During live TV address at 23:00, President Jacob Zuma steps down with immediate effect

2 NOVEMBER Led by Siya Kolisi, South Africa wins Rugby World Cup for third time in Yokohama, Japan, defeating England 32-12 in the final to lift Webb Ellis Cup

6 FEBRUARY World Cup-winning scrum half Joost van der Westhuizen (45) dies in Johannesburg after battling ALS motor neuron disease

OCTOBER Surgeons from Maastricht University Medical Centre, the Netherlands, perform first robot-assisted supermicrosurgery; robot ‘hands’ suture vessels as small as 0.3mm 36

31 DECEMBER Three cases of pneumonia of unknown cause reported in Wuhan City, China

15 FEBRUARY Cyril Ramaphosa sworn in as new President

8 OCTOBER Northriding Medical & Dental Centre opens

Tramshed Medical & Dental Centre opens

15 MARCH Fifty people killed in mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand; gunman announced intentions in racist manifesto posted online before opening fire

7 JANUARY Novel coronavirus identified as cause of Wuhan outbreak; named 2019-nCoV, or Covid-19

7 JANUARY South African-born Tesla and SpaceX entrepreneur Elon Musk becomes world’s richest person, surpassing Amazon’s Jeff Bezos; worth US$267 billion on 2 April 2022 17 FEBRUARY South Africa starts Covid-19 vaccine roll-out

11 MARCH World Health Organisation (WHO) declares Covid-19 a pandemic

4 APRIL President Ramaphosa announces South Africa’s national state of disaster to end at midnight, having lasted 750 days after being instated on 15 March 2020


27 MAY

Woodburn Medical & Dental Centre opens

20th birthday celebration

JANUARY South African scientists from Wits Research Centre and UP identify new chemical compound for treatment and elimination of malaria



Virtual consultations launched on Good Friday

Milnerton Medical & Dental Centre opens



7 SEPTEMBER EFF members use violence to force closing of 60 Clicks stores owing to possible racist ads of haircare products

Immediate virtual care introduced

3 AUGUST Dr Hanekom joins board of Unjani Clinics

31 DECEMBER Pfizer is first vaccine to receive emergency validation from WHO

3 SEPTEMBER Castle Gate Medical & Dental Centre opens

1 JANUARY Zondo Commission into state capture, led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, concludes; lasted 3 years, 4 months, 10 days; produced 1 731 106 pages of evidence; implicated 1 438 people and entities by testimony

2022 10 MARCH Zondo appointed new Chief Justice 24 FEBRUARY Russia invades Ukraine; sparks largest refugee crisis since World War II and fears of global economic recession


Team of 2002 Memories of

opening day at Glenfair Medical & Dental Centre range from playing moving van to the ‘cavalry’ coming to the rescue when an alarming bottleneck developed.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Sylvia Pharoah; Naudé van Niekerk; Siebert van Onselen; Jacobyn van der Merwe; Johanna Ntsele; Arno Weber; Wiek Labuschagne; Corné van Geer


“I’VE KNOWN Dr Hanekom and Amanda

and then came the glitch: every patient

for many years and had worked with

visiting a doctor or a dentist was regarded

Dr Hanekom in medical practice in

as a first visit, that is, a new patient, and

Duiwelskloof before he relocated to Pretoria.

therefore they were required to complete an

He approached me and asked if I would be

information form. The patients visiting their

interested in joining as practice manager at

old practitioners became irritated with this.

a new venture that he and Dr Veliotes were

On top of it, the filling in took quite a bit of

planning. It was a fantastic opportunity

time and the information had to be processed

that I couldn’t turn down.

before the patient could go through, resulting

“The centre was pristine and stunning. We

in an alarming bottleneck.

started with six medical practitioners, four of

“Happily, the cavalry arrived in the form

whom had bought into the Intercare concept

of the IT team and Amanda Hanekom. They

and moved their practices to Intercare.

manfully captured information forms in the

Two dentists also moved their practices

background to speed up the process.

to Intercare Glenfair, including two oral

Disaster was averted!”

hygienists, dental assistants and receptionists


and a sterilising assistant. We were fortunate that four experienced reception staff accompanied their doctors, and our nursing

“I WAS PRACTISING as a GP in the countryside

staff and radiographer all had hospital

when my good friend Rouleaux van der


Merwe* lured me away, for which I will thank

“The scene was set. We had prepared very

him forever. Random memories include our

hard for the actual opening and tried to

first gathering at the Hanekoms’ home, where

anticipate every situation that could occur.

I couldn’t get enough of the dried mango from

Now it was simply a matter of opening the

Hendrik’s farm.

doors for patients. “We were busy, busier than we’d expected,

“On opening day, Prof. Bern Meyer came to wish us good luck. He was head of the


department of physiology when I was a

formal than the practices where I’d been

student at Tukkies (University of Pretoria).

before. Then again, creating a warm, intimate

When he greeted me, I was back in my

and inviting atmosphere for our patients

second year in an instant, with him presiding

has always been a priority at Glenfair.”

over my oral – eish!”




*Dr Van der Merwe was the first medical managing director at Glenfair but resigned shortly after joining; Dr Siebert van Onselen

“I WAS PART of the dental sterilisation

took over, staying until 2021.

department and worked with Dr Arno Weber at his previous practice. I didn’t think twice when he asked if I wanted to join the new

“I HAD WORKED at Dr Arno’s in the early nineties and when he called to ask if I

team at Glenfair. “It was an exciting first day for us and I loved

wanted to come back as the dental

the feeling of being part of a work ‘family’.

receptionist at a brand-new project, it

But what I truly appreciated was the

sounded too exciting to say no.

opportunity to upskill. I could broaden my

“Joey Roets, Dr Arno’s assistant, and I

knowledge and hone my skills. Today I’m part

moved in with all the boxes, ledgers and

of Glenfair’s call centre, finding myself at the

material a day or two before 27 May. At the

heart of the action.”

opening, the entire GoodX software team


arrived to help and not a moment too soon. I had to handle the ExACT dental software and GoodX web application simultaneously,

“I WAS PRIVILEGED to be the first dentist

which made me quite tense. But all ended well

at Glenfair and was heartened by the joint

without any significant hiccups.

co-ordinated effort to establish a new

“Today I only remember how new the co-operative environment felt – maybe more


concept of practice. “I remember how we were still ferrying in

the last loose items and unpacking them in

night. The big difference between my previous

our shiny new consulting rooms on opening

life and now is working alongside colleagues,

day. The anxiety of whether the patients

sharing ideas, asking for help and advice – all

would move with us was also there. So much

the advantages a group practice offers, and a

depended on it. Fortunately, they did not let us

world-class one to boot!”

down and many are still with us 20 years later.


“The single biggest benefit the move offered me was being able to focus freely on my clinical practice and speciality as an oral pathologist while Intercare provided all the


other support services. The security of a

had my own dental practice but worked with

larger partner was crucial and the clinical

Arno (Weber). The concept behind a multi-

assistance of medical colleagues and other

disciplinary group practice excited me. I was

services a major plus.”

overwhelmed to have the chance to be part


of something so new and innovative. “Something that stood out for me from day one was the co-operation between the doctors and us. In one case, where a patient

“I WAS A GP in a one-person practice at

had an unusually aggressive reaction to a

Mediclinic Medforum in Pretoria when I

local anaesthetic, I could call upon one of my

heard about the planned centre. It felt like

medical colleagues there and then. I will never

my career had reached a ceiling at that

forget how readily he shared his knowledge

stage and the idea of a group practice

with a young dentist.”

with fresh challenges and diverse input


seemed extremely attractive. So I contacted Hendrik for an appointment. “It was a mad, super-exciting first week. We worked far longer hours than I was used to. On opening day I helped till after nine at


Teamwork makes the dream work and memories record our journey together 42