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Doctor's union in legal battle over millions

14 September 2020 8:59 AM
Tags:
South African Medical Association
SA Medical Association Trade Union
Membership fee legal battle

South African Medical Association and South African Medical Association Trade Union are in a court battle over millions.

The South African Medical Association (Sama) could be liquidated if the administrator of its union, the SA Medical Association Trade Union (Samatu), has his way reports EWN.

SA Medical Association Trade Union (Samatu) represents about 7500 public sector doctors.

The Labour Registrar placed the union under administration in October last year. This came after several contraventions of the Labour Relations Act igniting a legal war between non-profit professional association, Sama and the trade union administrator.

The union is heading to court to get their members' fees back from Sama, which they say is in the region of R370million.

But in legal documents seen by my next guest, Sama argues that the union does not legally exist.

EWN's Theto Mahlakoana speaks to Refilwe Moloto about the legal battling looming between the SA Medical Association Trade Union and the SA Medical Association, over membership fees totalling R370million, which the union's administrators are claiming is rightfully theirs.

Sama is a non-profit, registered under the Companies Act and provides a number of services to doctors in the private sector. Samtu, however, is registered under the Labour Relations Act.

Samtu was established by Sama in 1996 in order to offer a number of services to the public sector doctors.

Mahlakoana says the Labour registrar suspects since Samtu's inception, the association has treated the union as a division of Sama. But, according to the Labour relations Act, Samtu should be an independent and statutory body with a separate bank account, membership database and leadership.

So, because of that conflation, and because of that unlawful (action) as the courts have described it, the administration has for years acted unlawfully.

Theto Mahlakoana, Senior Political Reporter - EWN

The R370 million is a very conservative number. The kind of money that Sama has been receiving over the years, from bargaining councils, just for having organisational rights by virtue of being a trade union,

Theto Mahlakoana, Senior Political Reporter - EWN

Monies over the years from bargaining councils, National Treasury, and doctors have been channelled to Sama.

This money with interest if calculated since 1996, could easily be in the margin of R1 billion or more.

Theto Mahlakoana, Senior Political Reporter - EWN

The administrator is saying the only way to recover this is to place Sama under liquidation, she adds.

For years doctors in the public sector have been complaining that they are getting the thin edge of the wedge saying they are not getting services through the union itself, she adds.

Samtu argues it cannot elect representatives or hold meetings and has caused high levels of frustration, reports Mahlakoana.

Now Sama claims there was never a union, but just a division of Sama.

Theto Mahlakoana, Senior Political Reporter - EWN

Listen to the interview with Theto Mahlakoana below:


14 September 2020 8:59 AM
Tags:
South African Medical Association
SA Medical Association Trade Union
Membership fee legal battle

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