“Africa will not be built by men in suits.”

Biancha Mentoor


Health & Wellness

Organisation / Company

Netcare Ltd


Biancha Mentoor, 34, is a manager in health policy at the healthcare group Netcare. Her job is to stay abreast of new developments, synthesise and compile them into accessible content, which informs the group’s decision-making. Biancha represents Netcare on two boards of directors.

She holds a bachelor of medicine and surgery conferred with distinction in her final clinical examinations. During her master of public health, she specialised in health economics to understand the effect of poorly addressed apartheid-entrenched racial residential segregation on health and healthcare among people in Gauteng. She learnt how spatial planning is statistically relevant to socio-economic privilege and determines how a person interacts with healthcare. Biancha’s desire to explore the depths of public health was sparked during her community service year when she faced burnout caused by an under-staffed surgery department which required junior doctors to be on call more frequently than usual and often with less support.

Biancha has been elected as the chair of the Hospital Association of South Africa’s board sub-committee on research and health policy, which allows her to collaborate with colleagues on legislation and regulation.


  • Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery with distinction, University of Cape Town
  • Master of Public Health specialising in Health Economics with distinction, University of the Witwatersrand
  • Several certificate courses, including:
    – Global Health Policy from the University of Tokyo,
    – Systems Thinking in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University,
    – Basics of Financial Management from UCT, and
    – Expert Negotiator Programme completed with the Jack Quinlan and Associates Negotiation Skills Development
    – Toastmasters series, Institute of Directors of South Africa (of which I am a member).


I am proud of my master’s research for which I undertook a project to understand the effect of poorly addressed apartheid-entrenched racial residential segregation on health and healthcare amongst residents of Gauteng. This was an extensive inequality and spatial analysis. I learned an incredible amount about how spatial planning is statistically relevant to socio-economic privilege and how this determines how one interacts with healthcare and views one’s health.

Despite the well-intentioned post-apartheid policy, the failure to integrate residential settlements and create opportunities for structurally underdeveloped communities has formalised apartheid settlements and this has direct consequences for health. Public policies outside of health, such as education, housing, and social protection have directly affected health conditions in certain communities. Simply being able to access the healthcare system does not make or keep you healthy. Socioeconomic status, and not health needs, determine the ease and frequency with which the healthcare system is accessed and used, as well as which healthcare system is accessed.

This research allowed me to honour our incredible nation’s fractured history and complex present and to add to the body of literature that informs policy decisions. It was positively received and graded with distinction by the external examiners, something I am particularly proud of.


My high school history teacher, Ms Braude, complimented a research project I had done on the wartime music of World War I, telling me that it was researched and written at the university level. Her comment encouraged me to see myself as someone good at research early on. Many years later, I completed my Master of Public Health, where my research was also graded with distinction. I can trace my belief in my ability as a researcher to the positive feedback I received in passing in a stairwell in grade 10.

My current manager, Melanie da Costa, put her trust in me and nominated me in rooms where I am consistently the youngest person at the table. She supports and mentors me to develop my knowledge about the South African health policy landscape, hone my strategic skills, seeks my views, and endorses me for important opportunities at an industry and business-wide level. I am grateful to her for believing that I could add value in these spaces before I knew for sure I could.