The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), call for the immediate suspension of the curator of Sizwe Medical Fund. We strongly believe that there are strong grounds for suspension of the curator Dr Ngubekhaya Gobinca, given the damning dossier at our disposal pertaining to the litany of unlawful transgressions and maladministration within the Fund.
The following are the curator’s three major transgressions:
1. The Curator has become a self-appointed executive and found it necessary to make wide and far reaching changes to the constitutional structures, contracts and benefits of the fund without consultation with the members.
The Curator has chosen to implement these forced changes on the members without following the rules of the scheme and thus the Medical Schemes Act. It is unlawful to implement any changes or to attend then registration of benefits and contributions without giving the members of the scheme 30 days’ notice.
The curator showed disregard for this rule both for the 2013 rule changes and then the irregular changes of the 8th of May. In these new rule amendments, the Curator attempted to cover over his previous mistakes and make constitutional changes which might have dire consequences on the future governance and running of the fund.
This was in contravention of Rule 33.3, which states the following;
“Members must be furnished with a copy of all such amendments within 4 months after registration thereof. Should a member’s rights, obligations, contributions or benefits be amended, he/she shall be given 30 days advance notice of such change.”
2. He effected an average increase in members’ contributions of more than CPIX plus 3%, without seeking members’ approval through a general meeting or special general meeting or by ballot as contemplated in Rule 33.2. For the record, the average CPIX for 2012 was 5.6%. The Curator’s average increase of 10.82% is way above 8.6% (CPIX plus 3%).
According to Rule 33.2, "no amendment, rescission or addition which affects the object of the SCHEME or which increases the rate of contribution by more than CPIX plus 3% or decreases the extent of benefits of any particular benefit option by more than 20% of any financial year, is valid unless it has been approved by a majority of members present in a general meet or special meeting or by ballot."
3. He implemented and enforced a 30% co-payment for voluntary use of a non DSP (Designated Service Provider), without first having registered the Rule. This clearly transgresses Rule 33.5 and Section 32 of the Medical Schemes Act no 131 of 1998.
According to Rule 33.5; “No amendment, rescission or addition of any rule shall be valid unless it has been approved and registered by the Registrar.”
Furthermore, According to Section 32 of the Medical Schemes Act no 131 of 1998, “ Binding force of rules – The rules of a medical scheme and any amendment thereof shall be binding on the medical scheme concerned, its members, officers and on any person who claims any benefit under the rules or whose claim is derived from a person so claiming. ”
“We are calling on the Registrar of Council of Medical Schemes (CMS) to act swiftly by suspending the curator before the wheels go off the rails. There is prima facie evidence against the curator, and an internal process must unfold to investigate these allegations in the interest of our members”, says Numsa National Treasurer Mphumzi Maqungo.
“We do not want to run a public trial against the curator, because this might lead to temptations of dealing with the merits and demerits of the allegations. We do not want to compromise the internal process that needs to be expedited by Council of Medical Schemes, says Maqungo.
The Curator, Gobinca, has undermined the owners of the Scheme by changing rules without following due processes and has since misled the Sizwe members by presenting unfounded reasons why he will not be holding elections to appoint a new board of trustees.
The Curator in his notice calling for the AGM attests that he was not able to call for elections due to the fact that the previous litigation by the previous board of trustees was still in process.
This is blatantly untrue and the Curator in one of his own previous internal communications stated clearly that the trustees had lost their leave to appeal and the window for their appeal has closed. With this matter now serving as no hindrance to holding legitimate trustee elections to appoint a board for the scheme we demand a new legitimate board of trustees be put in place.
We call on the Registrar to intervene, investigate all allegations and to ensure that the upcoming AGM, which is scheduled for 28th June 2013 to be postponed and call an elective special general meeting within two months.
Numsa National Treasurer