The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa is an independent body set up and paid for by the marketing communications industry to regulate advertising in the public through a system of self-regulation.
The ASA works closely with government, statutory bodies, consumer organizations and the industry to ensure that the content of advertising meets the requirements of the Code of Advertising Practice.

The National Consumer Forum is an individual membership, non-profit and autonomous organisation that is dedicated to the protection and promotion of consumer rights and interests in South Africa.
The NCF asserts that all consumers have a right to a wholesome environment, quality of life and fine quality in the goods and services provided by the private and public sectors. The forum works to defend the rights of consumers as stated in the United Nations Guidelines on Consumer Protection of 1985 and to ensure that consumer rights find expression in consumer policy.
The NCF is an affiliate member of Consumers International (CI), a federation of over 250 consumer organizations in more than 120 countries.

Project Manager: Yasmin Moola - 011 544 4817/083 607 3128.
The Private Healthcare Forum represents key strategic interests in the private healthcare sector in South Africa. It is a loose association of voluntary members and was formally constituted in 2003. It is concerned with health-related issues namely:
* Health policy
* The Health Charter
* Current and draft legislation
* Specific interests of members.
It is intended that the Forum be used as a platform to articulate sector views and opinions in the interests of sustainable and quality healthcare. The PHF, which represents 80-85% of the private healthcare sector, is a member of BUSA.

Business Unity South Africa was created in October 2003 through the merger of the Black Business Council and Business South Africa. It began operating in January 2004. The merger created the first truly unified organization for business in South Africa.
BUSA represents South African business on macro-economic and high-level issues that affect it at the national and international levels. Their function is to ensure that business plays a constructive role in the countries economic growth, development and transformation and to create an environment in which businesses of all sizes and in all sectors can thrive, expand and be competitive.
BUSA aims to be a unified and fully representative organization that contributes to a vibrant, transforming and growing economy in South Africa.

Launched in 2002, the formation of this Section 21 council was a major step forward for the consumer goods industry. It incorporates a number of companies dealing with best practice, standards, and legal and regulatory issues in the retail, wholesale, manufacturing and service providers in the consumer goods industry. The council is an amalgamation of three associations: ECE South Africa, EAN South Africa and the Grocery Manufacturers Association of South Africa (GMA).

Over the last 30 years, South Africa has developed a medicines regulatory authority of internationally recognized standing. In the past five years, it has been transformed in order to improve its performance and regulatory processes. The Medicines Control Council is a statutory body that was established in terms of the Medicines & Related Substances Control Act 101 of 1965 to oversee the regulation of medicines in this country. It is appointed by the Minister of Health, and its main purpose is to safeguard and protect the public through ensuring that all medicines that are sold and used locally are safe and therapeutically effective - and meet and maintain acceptable standards in quality.

SAMA is a non-statutory, professional association representing public and private sector medical practitioners in South Africa. Registered as an independent, non-profit Section 21 company, SAMA acts as a trade union for its public sector members and as a champion for doctors and patients. On behalf of its members, the association strives for a health dispensation that will best serve their needs.
SAMA membership is voluntary with some 70% of public and private sector doctors in South Africa currently registered. SAMA's mission is to empower doctors to bring health to the nation.

The BHF is the representative organization for 95% of medical schemes throughout South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Lesotho. As the industry representative body, the organization relies on the membership of all medical schemes in order to lobby government and other organisations effectively and to influence policy where necessary on behalf of the entire industry.
BHF recently expanded its internal research capacity to ensure that it is well positioned to analyse regulatory interventions and propose position papers for which there is a significant need. Through the recruitment of an experienced economist whose expertise lies in policy development, BHF in increasingly able to analyse proposed regulations timeously and ensure that it develops a focused response which represents the best interests of medical schemes.

Formed in 1999, SMASA is an industry association dedicated to furthering the use of over-the-counter medicines and looking after the interests of its members. SMASA represents the interests of manufacturers of non-prescription medicines. It further serves to promote self-medication to the public. SMASA supports the understanding and development of responsible self-medication.
An objective of the association is to play a role in the promotion and support of legislative matters. SMASA confers with the government, provincial administrators and local authorities and their departments, as well as other interested bodies; collects and disseminates information likely to be of use to members; and encourages and assists in the settlement of disputes by enquiry, conciliation, arbitration and/or any other method prescribed by the Industrial Conciliation Act. SAMSA is a member of the World Self-Medication Industry.

The Allied Health Professions Council has been in existence since 1982 and controls various complementary and alternative health professions in terms of the Allied Professions Act, Act 63 of 1982. It is therefore a statutory health council and falls under the ambit of the Department of Health.
In terms of the Act, the Council currently has jurisdiction over ten modalities: Chiropractic, Osteopathy, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Phytotherapy, Therapeutic Aromatherapy, Therapeutic Massage Therapy, Therapeutic Reflexology, Ayurveda, and Chinese Medicine/Acupuncture and Unani-Tibb.
These professions are described as those which have as their objective ‘the promotion of health, the treatment, prevention or relief of physical defects, illnesses or deficiencies in man'. They are served by four combined Professional Boards.

The Homeopathic Association of South African is recognized by the Allied Health Professions Council as the official representative of the homeopathic profession in South Africa. It is also the only organization that actively engages government, the Department of Health, the Allied Health Professions Council and all other organisations and structures that influence the profession. The HSA is in constant communication with other health-related bodies and institutions.
This association represents and promotes homeopathic practitioners, the profession, education and interests for the better health and well-being of all South Africans.

Contact: Dr Martin van Heerden 073 840 3112
SANA was established to fulfill the growing need by members of the profession to have a representative association. The aims of SANA are to serve the interests of association; encourage research into the field of naturopathy; provide scientific congresses, seminars and training with emphasis on naturopathy; to collaborate with international associations with interests in the same field; and promote the well-being of the population of South Africa.
SANA also works to improve and maintain the quality of service rendered by the profession by setting guidelines; creating opportunities for continued education; formulating and publishing statements about naturopathy that are based on scientific facts; and maintaining quality of service by monitoring professional standards.

This non-profit organization was founded in 1997 with the mission of enhancing the professional status of aromatherapists and protecting their interests. ASOSA works to keep members informed of developments regarding registration and accreditation and developments in the field as well as to promote continued professional development. They also aim to foster greater appreciation of the benefits of therapeutic aromatherapy among the South African public.

The Aromaforum is a South African networking platform established for the facilitation and dissemination of aromatherapeutic information. It also functions as a platform for the provision of diverse aromatic resources, thereby serving the needs and interests of the layperson as well as those of the professional practitioner. The Aromaforum offers active dissemination of information and educational material to the general public, trade and professional associations, business owners, practitioners, students and statutory authorities.

Contact: Pepsile Maseko 082 687 6290/011 3376177
The Traditional Healers Organisation was formed in 1970 and has the largest membership of traditional healers throughout Southern Africa.
The Minister of Health officially legalised traditional healers in September 2004 via the creation of the Traditional Health Practitioners Bill that is now an Act. This provides a regulatory framework to ensure the efficacy, safety and quality of traditional healthcare services as well as control over registration, training and practices of traditional health practitioners.
The THO is a national registered NGO committed to the principles enshrined in state health policy. Their mission is to promote, protect and monitor service delivery of its members and to overcome discrimination against and opposition to traditional healing practitioners so that they have the freedom to realise their potential.
The THO regulates and monitors complaints of members, provides educational programmes to traditional healers and other groups around South Africa on various health and social issues, and offers education to the general public about the role of traditional healers.
The THO is committed to protecting and preserving indigenous forms of knowledge and healing practices.

The Nutrition Society strives to advance the scientific study of nutrition to promote appropriate strategies for the improvement of nutritional well-being. Their mission is to provide leadership and mentorship, based on appropriate research, in policy formulation, education and training and practice of nutrition through advocacy and dissemination of information. The aims are to advance the scientific study of nutrition, to promote appropriate strategies for the improvement of nutrition well-being and to provide facilities for members of the society.

Contact: George Duggan - 022 492 3224/012 557 1420
The Health Shop Association works to ensure that health shops continue to function by keeping members together in the face of a competitive market. Health shop owners have a passion for health, natural and complementary remedies, nutrition and continued learning. They provide clients with individual attention, listen to their problems and educate them on lifestyle choices, nutritional needs and product choice. These values, and the financial viability of many health stores, are under threat from suppliers favouring larger retailers, discounted products in supermarkets and bulk discount stores - as well as potentially prejudicial legislation and regulations. The Health Shop Association was formed to support and add muscle to individual stores. They believe that, as an Association, they can present a unified front to negotiate with suppliers and interact with relevant authorities.

This association was formed in 1994 to secure representation of the cosmetics industry in a single, focused body. CTFA represents and promotes the interests of its member companies, is an authoritative voice for the South African industry and actively articulates viewpoints to government departments. It continues to lead the industry forward with regard to setting and updating regulations and standards and encourages responsible advertising.
Committed to maintaining the high quality and safety of cosmetic products, CTFA guides members on the Self-Regulatory Codes of Practice and provides an environment that allows the South African cosmetics industry to flourish.

SAAFFI was formed to take care of matters of common interest in the flavours and fragrance industry. Over the years, this grouping has grown in number and has become more proactive. A non-profit, public benefit organization, SAAFFI undertakes and initiates projects for the general improvement of the industry, its staff and clients. By organizing seminars, the association helps to ensure the spread of knowledge and the broadening of the skills base in South Africa. SAAFFI works with the Universities of Johannesburg and Pretoria on training workshops.

Established in 1972, COSCHEM was formed by cosmetic chemists and technical administrators for the interchange of ideas in fields of common interest and to establish sound manufacturing techniques and principles for the industry.
An active, well-established society, COSCHEM organizes conferences and lectures and provides scientific education and training. COSCHEM is affiliated to the International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists.

SAAFOST is an association for food scientists and technologists and other professionals serving the food and allied industries in South Africa. The organization provides its members with valuable networking and knowledge, sharing events and publications. It promotes education and professionalism as well as an appropriate legislative structure in the industry
This national association is concerned with advancing the knowledge of food science and technology and does so by encouraging scientific research, organising meetings, seminars, workshops and congresses, publishing papers and assisting in educational activities.

In 1885 a group of pharmacists met in King Williamstown to form the South African Pharmaceutical Association. This resulted in branches being set up around the country. From here, pharmaceutical societies were developed in the various provinces and, ultimately, the amalgamation of these formed the PSSA in 1946. This body represents pharmacists as a professional group distinct from other medical professions.
The vision of the PSSA sees the pharmacist as the custodian of medicines and the provider of pharmaceutical services that are integral to addressing the healthcare needs of the people of South Africa. Their mission is to promote pharmacy as a dynamic, information-driven, patient oriented profession through its infrastructure, competency and skills.

The primary objective of this council is to support the promotion of health for the South African population. This is achieved by advancing the provision of pharmaceutical care; the establishment, development, maintenance and control of universally acceptable standards in pharmaceutical education and training, as well as pharmacy practice; the registration of persons who provide one or more or all of the services that are within the scope of practice of pharmacists; and ensuring professional discipline.
The Council ensures that pharmaceutical services in the country are the best equipped to meet the health care needs of the people.

In 2006 a broad grouping of pharmaceutical manufacturers launched a new industry association focusing on the transformation and demands of the local healthcare environment. The new body, the Pharmaceutical Industry Association of South Africa, has broad representation of foreign multinational and local pharmaceutical companies. The grouping, which comprises a total of 28 member companies, represents approximately 55% of the total private sector pharmaceutical market in South Africa.
In addition to promoting and safeguarding the interests of members regarding government business and other professional organizations, PIASA's mission is to sustain a favourable environment for the development of the pharmaceutical industry in South Africa as it strives to increase access to quality medicines. The ultimate aim is to save lives and improve the quality of life for all South Africans.

IMSA is a South African pharmaceutical industry association promoting the value of medicine innovation in healthcare. Formed in 2003, their aim is to be credible, sought out and listened to by lay stakeholders in the public and private healthcare market and to focus on promoting sustainable access to innovative, research-based healthcare.

ADSA is the professional organization for registered dieticians. The association assists in the development of the dietetic profession through its comprehensive Continuing Professional Development System. Their vision is to represent and develop the dietetic profession to contribute towards achieving optimal nutrition for all South Africans.
As the registered professional in the field of dietetics and nutrition, ADSA supports and promotes the continued growth of the profession and the primary aims are to serve the interests of dieticians in South Africa and promote the nutritional well-being of the community.

The Complementary Veterinary Medicine Group (CVMG) was officially inaugurated in July 2000 under the auspices of the South African Veterinary Association. The objective of the group is to act as as a forum for discussion and exchange of information with regards to complementary therapies for animals, for both the general public and the veterinary profession. In recent years there has been a tremendous increase in the interest and demand for complementary therapies, especially for companion animals. The world wide web provides an enormous amount of information but it is essential that the concerned owner should be directed to an appropriately trained and knowledgeable vet. The welfare of the animal is paramount. The CVMG therefore encourages a high standard of training and competency in the integrative treatment of animals.  To this end the group offers professional training and education to interested vets  and have facilitated a three year course in veterinary homeopathy as well as a course in veterinary acupuncture.






Click here for a print-friendly version of this article