The South African Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, a known affiliate of IOSH UK, has come under fire for referring to voluntary professional safety associations as “bogus” in an attempt to prevent a loss of members.
Since its inception in 2010, when it was first registered as a Closed Corporation, it has garnered support of thousands of OHS practitioners seeking some form of recognition. As time went by, the “part-time” management team were able to fund themselves and moved to a non-profit company. It’s membership grew from strength to strength at is reportedly standing at 14 000 strong.
However, the lack of progress in OHS in Southern Africa, with nothing “new” to report on, and the downward spiraling economy, has forced OHS practitioners to re-evaluate the value of Saiosh membership. While the membership fee is most affordable, the maintenance of Continual professional development point or CPD points has become a very very costly exercise in a time when very few OHS jobs are available to senior and expert level practitioners.
The economy has put a demand on cheaper labour and a shift to entry and junior level practitioners are dominating the job market.
The rise of the under-dogs
Many experienced practitioners have left Saiosh in search of more tangible benefits, like professional marketing, job assistance and referral networks. These needs all led to the formation of various professional societies and associations, which according to Saiosh are “bogus”.
This is an unfair statement coming from an organisation that built its member support on the premise that they are the SA version of IOSH in the UK and originally calling themselves IOSH SA. And while the “big plan” secured at least 40% of its current membership, it all fell apart when IOSH UK did not officially entered into any such agreement.
Just because a professional association does not seek recognition from SAQA, it does not mean they are bogus, as no other professional association in the African content needs to do the same. This blinckered vision of Saiosh, perhaps born out of ignorance, has however sparked a fury that is unlikely to subside and Saiosh can forget about signing MoU’s with any other professional association in Africa. Should they succeed, those who agree will do so purely for financial gain as 14 000 potential buyers of training courses and “endorsed” workshops can be an attractive draw-card.
Why else would IOSH UK, and the other “bogus” bodies who do not need SAQA recognition, with their 40 000 plus global membership, do business with this “legitimate” mickey mouse?
Legal Action considered
A number of professional and voluntary societies are in discussion to initiate a class-action law suit and claim for damages from Saiosh. Some however are of the opinion that it the “bogus” statement were nothing more than a marketing message to a minority group of believers. Not everyone shares the same level of loyalty to Saiosh’s management team.
More on this as the story unfolds.