Military medical aid increase on hold thanks to Sandu intervention

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Threatened legal action by South Africa’s largest military trade union appears to have hit home with a planned increase in medical aid contributions on hold.

In the immediate aftermath of a DoD (Department of Defence) internal newsflash last Thursday (13 April), the SA National Defence Union (Sandu) dispatched a strongly worded letter to the Regular Force Medical Continuation Fund (RFMCF) of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF). The flash informed military personnel of a 7.5% increase in contributions as from next month (May).

The Arcadia, Pretoria, headquartered military trade union pointed out it will take on the increase, calling it “unlawful” as it was taken by an unlawfully constituted board which “could never take a lawful decision regarding any RFMCF matter”.

Sandu’s “unlawful” comment is in the light of SANDF General Regulations permitting the union to have a representative on the RFMCF board. It further claimed it was “deliberately excluded” and this saw a court order sought and obtained against the RFMCF board last October to stop what Sandu termed “a similar unlawful increase decision”. The union demanded the decision be reversed or it would again seek legal redress.

Yesterday (Tuesday, 18 April) the trade union told its uniformed members the RFMCF increase would not be implemented “based on Sandu’s stated concerns”.

Sandu will, it said, “now engage” the RFMCF and the Surgeon-General to “secure proper composition” of the fund’s board and “secure” its representation on it.

“This success was achieved by collective and constructive engagement from SANDU with various levels of top SANDF management,” an announcement said, adding without the union “all SANDF members would have been forced to pay more for medical without having any say”.