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SIZWE Medical Fund

28 June 2013
Press Release – Sizwe Medical Fund Looks Beyond the Challenges
Sizwe Medical Fund had announced to members that it planned to hold its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Friday the 28 June, in line with the requirements of the scheme rules. The AGM this year coincided with the 35th anniversary since the founding of the Fund by a group of Soweto doctors – including the iconic Dr. Nthato Motlana – in the late 1970s. The gathering was held at the Pyramid Conference Center in Selby, south of Johannesburg, on Friday morning. In the meeting a group of delegates are said to have disrupted the meeting resulting in the Curator and management team of the Fund walking out of the meeting venue, and the AGM being aborted.
In the last few days running up to the AGM the media has been covering the conflict between the Numsa and Curator, Dr Ngubekhaya Gobinca. There was also a petition signed by a group of members who are calling for a SGM for election of trustees to be held on the 30 August, and the upliftment of the Curatorship. The Curator was recommended by the CMS for appointment by the High Court, and he replaces the Board of Trustees (BoT) that was elected by the members. The Curator believes that the disruption of meetings will only serve to delay the conclusion of his mandate and ultimately might impact on the upliftment of the Curatorship.
Dr. Gobinca proposes that the Council be given time to investigate and rule on the complaints submitted by the stakeholders. However he also questions why these stakeholders were quiet when Sizwe was going through its long history of governance failures that culminated in the arrest of one of its previous executives on 11 June 2013 by NPA. He also pointed out that Numsa has a business interest in the affairs of the Fund via Numsa Financial Services that provides medical aid brokerage. There has been some issues regarding the payment of commission to the brokerage. Gobinca confirms that a meeting is scheduled to discuss their difference with Numsa, one of the most valued stakeholders of the Fund. Numsa has a long history with the scheme having been instrumental in the founding and early development of Sizwe.
Since the scheme has been under Curatorship, a number of changes that might provide context to the current misunderstanding, have been implement and they include:
1. Appointment of Audit Committee, qualified CA as CFO of the Fund and a reputable company to provide company secretarial and compliance services.
2. Changes in the scheme rules
3. Reviewing of main supplier contracts and RFI for administration and managed care. One of his reasons for putting Sechaba’s services on RFI is that new long-term contracts were awarded to the administrator in 2012 without a tender process, said Gobinca.
4. Departure of Mel Pohler the PO in charge prior to the Curatorship ruling.
5. The scheme reversed it losses from R55m in 2011 to a surplus of R9m in 2012. The 2012 solvency ratio is 25,44%.
6. The Fund is exploring possibilities of amalgamations to grow the Fund and enable the members to leverage from economies of scale. Gobinca sees amalgamation as an opportunity to provide Sizwe members with a broader selection of benefit options.
Curatorship is a temporary, remedial and custodial measure and, as prescribed by the court, Dr. Gobinca’s tenures ends in September before which he has to constitute a new board at a special general meeting.
Sechaba ‘s current contracts have been put on notice to allow for a proper procurement process to commence. Sizwe, Dr. Gobinca said, enjoyed long and cordial relations with Sechaba, which received R188-million in fees last year, and said it must participate in this process. Gobinca believes Sechaba should welcome a transparent procurement process as it part of good governance.
For more information contact Dimitri Balidis on 011 2981500 or visit www.sizwe.co.za.