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Medical body rejects race bias claims

Durban - The SA Medical Association (Sama) has slammed as “lies” allegations by partner organisations that it is trying to adopt a racially biased transformation model.

The partner organisations and Sama have threatened to take legal action against each other.

Mzukisi Grootboom. Credit: INLSA

An extraordinary general meeting has been scheduled for Saturday.

Dr M Adam, spokesman for the National Medical and Dental Forum and a member of the Sama board, has said the association is to adopt a “race-based model of transformation that would disempower the predominantly black founder groups who were the co-founders of Sama in 1997”.

“The proposed changes would transfer control of Sama back to the (Medical Association of SA), which was a supporter and beneficiary of the apartheid regime,” Adam has said.

He said the five partner organisations were “outraged” that they had been used by the association to give credibility to old medical associations over the past 17 years. The association was “unlawfully violating the terms of the unification agreement… implemented by the partner organisations”.

Sama member Professor Ames Dhai recommended the model of transformation that the association’s board intends adopting at the extraordinary general meeting.

Sama chairman Dr Mzukisi Grootboom said this model was pro-transformation as it proposed that at least 50 percent of positions in the association’s structures should be held by historically disadvantaged individuals.

“This model is taking Sama forward and not backward,” he said.

“Allegations that we are going back border on the ridiculous. Our historically disadvantaged membership has steadily increased and we plan to follow our at least 50 percent transformation plan dutifully and comprehensively. In most cases, in practice, the 50 percent target is exceeded by a notable margin.”

The partner organisations say that this proposed model is going to be adopted illegally at the extraordinary general meeting. They also say the association has appointed an independent auditing firm too late to manage and monitor the counting of proxy votes.

The meeting had been scheduled for April 5, but failed to achieve a quorum and was adjourned until Saturday.

Adam said the partner organisations’ legal adviser had informed Sama of the legalities and pending legal action.

This had been ignored, he said.

Grootboom said the board would like the memorandum of incorporation and rules to be adopted to ensure “transformation, openness and democracy” based on the rule that historically disadvantaged individuals make up at least 50 percent of Sama’s structures. He said this would be an effort to ensure the best interests of Sama’s members.

Grootboom said the association would institute legal action against the people responsible for the press statements.

He said an individual was pursuing a personal agenda that was contrary to the unanimous resolution adopted by the Sama board.

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