The Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) has placed its general manager for compliance and investigations, Stephen Mmatli, on suspension with pay. File picture: Pexels
Cape Town - The Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) has placed its general manager for compliance and investigations, Stephen Mmatli, on suspension with full pay pending the outcome of investigations into allegations of serious acts of misconduct.

Mmatli left his office after he was served with a letter of precautionary suspension on February 7. The move by the council has potentially far-reaching implications for the medical scheme industry, as it raises questions about the legitimacy of inspections currently under way, and whether the regulator might have turned a blind eye to issues that warranted scrutiny.

The CMS is an autonomous statutory body created to regulate the medical scheme industry, and is charged with safeguarding the interests of consumers and ensuring that schemes and administrators comply with the Medical Schemes Act.

On Wednesday, the CMS indicated that at least four inspections were under way - at the two biggest medical schemes, Discovery and the Government Employees Medical Scheme, and at Resolution Health and Bonitas.

According to the CMC, Mmatli’s suspension followed anonymous tip-offs alleging that, among others, he had been involved in a corrupt relationship with an organisation regulated by the CMC, and that he had deliberately misled the CMC to make decisions in favour of organisations from which he benefited financially in return.

On Wednesday, CMC spokesperson Grace Khoza said she could not elaborate on Mmatli’s alleged corrupt relationship with the organisations and the amount of money allegedly involved, but she admitted that similar allegations against Mmatli had been lodged with the Special Investigating Unit.

SIU spokesperson Nazreen Pandor said the SIU was assessing the allegations, with a view to requesting the president to issue a proclamation to the unit to investigate them. “The SIU has received allegations of impropriety in relation to certain affairs of the CMS. The SIU has made the CMS aware (of the) allegations in the interest of ensuring lawful and proper governance at the CMS.”

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