The Association of Mining Safety Professionals of South Africa has joined the Zero Harm dream and offers memberships to safety professionals in the mining industry. This brings the number of safety associations in South Africa equal to the rest of the world. One more, and SA as a country will have more VA’s than the entire world.
AMSPSA joins the dream to establish Zero Harm in South African workplaces, and have created their website on the free Content Management Platform called Wix, a company notorious for its unethical marketing practices to lure ignorant users into joining them while attempting to damage the world renown WordPress blogging platform, used by millions of IT professionals and bloggers globally.
The President of AMSPSA is also the owner of a company called The Compliance Group, Owen McCree, who seems to be the primary custodian of the Association’s web services.
What is AMSPSA all about?
Besides being focused on Mining professionals and the Mining Industry, they offer nothing new. Their membership levels are slightly differently titled, starting at Junior Associate Member, Associate Member, Ordinary Member, Retired Member or Honorary Life Member which makes it impossible to compare with for instance membership levels of SAIOSH or the IoSM.
The fact that membership starts with a catch-all approach, and is open to anyone carrying a legal appointment of at least the rank of a Safety Officer on a mine or works as specified in the MHSA, or S/he shall provide a safety, health, medical, environment, hygiene or risk related service to the mining industry on a level of at least that of a Safety Officer, does not differ much from the catch-all membership of other VA’s.
Their invitation to new members is to join them to make a difference; something that has been tried and tested and proven not to work, but worth a mention.
To make a difference in the lives of millions, you first need to change the lives of the few at the top. But nevertheless, let’s give it a go one more time. Perhaps we can discover leadership SA has been lacking since WW1.
Fortunately for most Safety professionals, AMSPSA is limited in terms of their reach and influence in the profession as a whole as they only operate in areas where mines are located. This includes the Central district (Rustenburg/ Brits/ Thabazimbi/ Zeerust region), the Eastern district (Mpumalanga/ Limpopo region), the Western district (Klerksdorp/ Carletonville/ Westonaria region/JHB), the Free State district [which is actually a province in terms of the SA Constitution] and the Northern Cape district [another province].
The lack of Constitutional law is also evident in their internal rule that the AMSPSA council must first approve any other association or body. It reads “No member of the AMSPSA shall also be a member of any other association or body of which is not approved by the AMSPSA Council”. This is not so good news for the Health Professions Council or the SACPCMP or ECSA as the AMSPSA Council has no authority over statutory bodies.
AMSPSA therefore say to you Mrs or Mr Consultant, that you can join any other association, as long as they approve it. Rooting out competition is important for survival. Out the window goes your right of freedom of association. (Best not join them at all.)
What is interesting however is that the Association also strives to protect the interest of its members. This is not something you will find in the SAIOSH list of objectives.
For the time being they are a “bogus safety body” according to the SAIOSH definition, as they don’t have SAQA recognition, although they are advertised on the SAIOSH website. Perhaps hypocrisy is acceptable in certain circles. Maybe there’s a need for a professional designation as Pr. Cadre, as we have learnt through our own democracy. We will see how this develops.
As a junior associate, you first have to find two ordinary members to “sponsor” you. It is uncertain what the sponsorship entails, but these persons will have to sign your application form. If you are new to the industry, you cannot join unless you know two people who are Ordinary members. (We could not find any member register on their website so happy hunting). If you’re a buddy of a buddy, you should not have any issues to get “sponsored”.
The actual fees are nowhere to be found during the application process. You sign up, get approved and receive your surprize. Unless it’s FREE, but they want your to agree that you will pay them. [Wait for the summons and use the Consumer Protection Act to get out of it.]
Sanctions and enforcement
The AMSPSA Constitution makes no provision for a code of conduct of its members, or sanctions in case of misconduct. It is therefore not a professional body in the general sense of what professional bodies do.
It’s a voluntary association with a fairly large member claim of 3 841 members.
Bogus or not? We strongly advise against joining AMSPSA for now.
The Constitution of the association looks like it never crossed the desk of legal counsel. During a quick read, we spotted a few “get out of jail free cards” and too much control by the Council with absolutely no oversight of the Council. No company registration, for profit or otherwise, and no appointed auditor, legal counsel, PAIA manual or POPI manual. Their year end is a funny time, being 31 December when everyone is on leave.
Council members are paid by the council as they decide and no member other than Ordinary Members have any control over amendments to their Constitution or Rules.
Perhaps it’s an honest effort, but for now, use latex gloves! It does look toxic.