A Financially Healthy Scheme

The South African Municipal Workers Union Medical Scheme (SAMWUMED) is a financially healthy, fully-funded, national-accredited and self-administered medical aid scheme which covers approximately 75 000 lives throughout South Africa. It operates within a closed sector namely, local government and associated agencies employees.

The Scheme’s reserve levels remain way above 70%, exceeding the required statutory threshold of 25%. This is a commendable performance considering the high claims ratio challenges that schemes face at any given time.  It comes as no surprise that the Scheme was mentioned as one of the Three Most Sustainable Medical Schemes in South Africa by the Alexander Forbes Sustainability Index Report for 2016 and 2017.

The Scheme continually strives to maintain its standing as one of the most cost effective Schemes in its category without compromising the quality of its Member Benefits. To this end, benefits are reviewed on an annual basis and adjusted according to prevailing trends.

In this way, we see ourselves not just as a medical aid scheme, but as an advocate of our members’ interests and their right to a healthy life.

In addition, SAMWUMED is committed to adhering to good corporate governance in all aspects of its operations.

Our Mission

We commit ourselves to service excellence by providing the most affordable, member friendly, accessible and accountable scheme and administration.

Our Vision

  • To be the leading medical scheme in the local government sector

  • To provide a holistic and progressive primary health service nationally

  • To provide guaranteed affordability by offering appropriate benefits and access to the best medical services

  • To create healthy and satisfied members through education and efficient administration in a member-friendly environment

  • Commitment to the principle of non-profit and to remain sustainable

  • To be one of the most desired organisations to work for in South Africa

  • To promote a clean, healthy and sustainable environment

Our Values

  • Integrity

  • Discipline

  • Responsibility

  • Accountability

  • Value of the Self

  • Organisation Society

Our past is our heritage. Our future is your assurance

SAMWUMED has a long and rich history of working to improve people’s health and quality of life. Operating under the philosophy that all South Africans are entitled to affordable quality healthcare, we have evolved from a simple trade union scheme to one of the largest fully-funded, self-administered medical aid schemes for workers in local government and government support industries nationally.

The spirit of our core values and a commitment to service excellence forms a thread that runs throughout our history.

1952SAMWUMED is established by the Cape Town Municipal Workers’ Association (CTMWA), one of the founding organisations of the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU), as a primary medical fund for its members. At this time, the benefit structure of the Scheme was very simple and most of its healthcare services were offered by provincial hospitals.
1967With the advent of the Medical Schemes Act, the CTMWA Medical Benefit Fund was created to meet the requirements prescribed by the Act. During that year, the Fund was also registered in terms of the Friendly Societies Act of 1956. The benefits and contributions of the Scheme were still very limited and the Fund only had five employees to run it.

During this time, only two medical schemes were available for local government employees in the Western Cape, the CTMWA Medical Benefit and the Local Authorities Medical Aid Fund (LAMAF). However, since LAMAF was structured according to race, many employees in local government were excluded from membership.

1983An Assistant Provincial Officer was appointed with fieldworkers, bringing the staff complement up to 17 employees.
1989The Fund changed its name to the SAMWU Medical Benefit Fund, with the Union’s Branch Secretary acting as the Principal Officer.
1990 – 1993The Fund introduced a computerised administration system, the number of employees increased and the benefit structure was expanded. The Assistant Principal Officer was appointed as the Principal Officer and a Committee of Management was elected. The Fund, having grown considerably, moved into its own building in Athlone, Cape Town, where it still resides today.
1994 – 1996The Fund underwent further changes which included appointing Heads of Departments and forging networks with similar organisations such as the Clothing Industry Sick Fund. It was also around this time that Comprehensive Healthcare Centres, previously known as SAMWUMED Medicentres, were introduced at Athlone and Mitchell’s Plain. These facilities have since closed down.
1995The Fund received international exposure when its dental clinics were the subject of a study conducted by the University of Western Cape’s Dental Faculty. The results of the study were presented at an International Dental Conference held in San Francisco, USA during March 1996.
1999By this time, the fund had grown substantially, with a staff complement of 63, and the Union entered into discussions with the intention of forming a national medical scheme.

In November, a formal agreement was signed between the SAMWU Medical Benefit Fund and SAMWU, committing the two parties to forming a single national medical scheme.

2000The Fund’s systems were upgraded to be Y2K compliant, and a special general meeting was held to approve the proposed SAMWU National Medical Scheme.
2010SAMWUMED was awarded its accreditation certification as an administrator. This was in addition to being registered as a medical scheme as determined by the Medical Schemes Act and being accredited to provide healthcare services for local government by the South African Local Government Bargaining Council.
PresentToday, SAMWUMED is recognised as a fully-funded, self-administered medical aid scheme that fully complies with all criteria prescribed by the Medical Schemes Act.

In addition, SAMWUMED continues to implement the principles of King IV where relevant to the medical schemes environment, to reflect good corporate governance.

We have also made significant strides in ensuring that our systems are in keeping with our changing landscape. At the core of our technology developments has been a focus on heightening communication with our members and thus creating room for two-way communication.

In recent years, brand redevelopment has been a key focus, paving the way for the SAMWUMED brand to be more visible and compete confidently as a medical aid scheme within the closed medical aid scheme sector.