Curatorship for Sizwe Medical Fund?

The registrar of medical schemes has asked the South Gauteng High Court to place Sizwe Medical Fund under curatorship because of governance concerns.

The scheme — which has 65 284 principal members and 161 846 beneficiaries — is apparently financially sound, but the fitness and propriety of some of its officers has been called into question.

The Council of Medical Schemes (CMS) alleges that the scheme has been operating an unregistered benefit option and failed to pay in full for prescribed minimum benefits (PMBs), as required by the Medical Schemes Act.

Also under scrutiny is the scheme’s appointment of brokers and their remuneration, as well as the election of the scheme’s board of trustees. It also seems that the board of trustees has not taken steps to address the governance problems, although the board has known about them.

The CMS has applied to have the trustees removed and a curatorship established for a period of a year.

As one of the larger open schemes in South Africa, Sizwe was formed to offer healthcare solutions to black members not adequately provided for under traditional medical schemes. It has been in existence since 1978.

The CMS is quick to point out that the scheme’s finances are not the issue. “The curatorship application has nothing to do with the financial soundness of the scheme,” said registrar Dr Monwabisi Gantso. “Sizwe is perfectly capable of honouring its claims going forward.”

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