An 89% majority vote at an extra-ordinary general meeting (EGM) in Pretoria on Saturday, April 12, resulted in the adoption of the revised Memorandum of Incorporation and company rules of the SA Medical Association (SAMA).
Achieving this unequivocal support from members has, to all intents and purposes, nullified recent attempts by alleged representatives of the so-called “Partner Organisations” – a minority remnant of SAMA’s early post-apartheid beginnings – to lay claim to equal representation in all leadership structures of SAMA.
An all-time attendance record in terms of both proxies and attendees was reached at the EGM – a milestone that can only be attributed to all SAMA members.
It has to be noted that the support of the SAMA membership in securing the adoption of these documents clearly illustrates that SAMA members can purposefully and determinedly come together and be recognised as a unified force that can exert direct and pertinent influence on the future of healthcare in South Africa. It furthermore provides undisputable confirmation that SAMA wants to embrace all doctors, and specifically its younger members.
Needless to say we rejected the disgraceful endeavour by a few individuals to win favour for their distorted objectives via smear campaigns in the social and online media with the contempt it deserved. SAMA members and stakeholders can rest assured that those attempting to undermine SAMA’s corporate image will be brought to justice. To this end we can assure our members that all processes and procedures followed by SAMA in respect of the MOI and Rules are perfectly legitimate and lawful and that any and all actions executed by the Board have conformed fully to first-class corporate governance principles.
SAMA’s objectives, pronounced in the preamble to the new MOI, reaffirm that SAMA is an association representing doctors irrespective of race, gender, religion or ethnicity, united in their diversity. Its existence is based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights.
Importantly, the new MOI and Company Rules reflect SAMA’s continued commitment to transformation – all its structures will constantly reflect representation of historically disadvantaged individuals (HDIs) by at least 50% – ensuring that these individuals can maintain and enhance their rightful positions in accordance with the Bill of Rights enshrined in the South African Constitution.
Furthermore, now that its democratic and transparent governance processes are firmly embedded in the MOI and Company Rules, SAMA can look forward to truly represent its members in all matters affecting their daily lives, and as such can simultaneously strive to improve the access, equity and equality of medical services to all South Africans.
SAMA wants to work for all its members (medical students, interns, community service doctors, registrars, medical officers, medical managers, private and public specialists, private and public general practitioners, and academics) with renewed focus on the current issues and challenges facing the sector – looking forward to fruitful discussions with all industry co-stakeholders including, but not limited to, the Department of Health, the Health Professions Council of SA, dentists, medical tertiary institutions, medical insurers and all other bodies forming part of the intricate web that represents health issues in South Africa.
Particular matters in this regard include the inquiry into the private health industry by the Competition Commission, recent regulations regarding the controversial “Certificate of Need” issued by the Minister of Health, the ongoing matter of National Health Insurance implementation, the role of medical schemes in the industry, tertiary education in the medical field, the representation of employed SAMA members in labour relations and trade union matters, and various other matters of concern.
An elective SAMA National Council meeting is scheduled for 23 – 24 May 2014, and we are looking forward to see representatives from all SAMA groupings (as more fully set out in the Company Rules) at this meeting to deliberate on matters of importance to all members.
Dr MJ Grootboom
22 April 2014