Chapter Focus: KZN Chapter | EAPA-SA

KZN Chapter Chairperson, Mr Mzwandile Gumede, gives us insights into the chapter.

What makes your chapter unique?
The fact that we are situated in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and that we are aware of the current challenges and opportunities facing the world of work in within the Province. Organisations are beginning to realise the importance of investing in the health and wellbeing of employees as valuable resource in the delivery of goods and services, and in increasing organisational benefits. The KZN Chapter of EAPA-SA is positioned to support these organisations to meet their defined goals for health and wellness. The employee assistance practitioners and professionals are empowered to provide that support as members of EAPA-SA and the Chapter. The Provincial Government of KwaZulu-Natal is recognising the contribution of EAPA and supports the involvement of EAPs in Chapter activities.

How does joining your chapter benefit your members?
As we approach the year-end, let us first thank those members who obtained full EAPA-SA membership and professional designation during 2017 and also thank those members who have already renewed membership and obtained professional designation for 2018. Those members and potential members who have not applied for 2018 membership and professional designation are encouraged to do so before it is too late, due date has been set as 31 January 2018. The membership benefits are enormous. As a part of its mandate the Chapter offers training and development opportunities which carry the required Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points. In addition, the Chapter opens platform for networking and sharing of best practices in line with applicable international and national standards.

What has been the chapter highlight over the past 12 months?
Since its re-launch two years ago, KZN the Chapter has become well established. The KZN Chapter derives its mandate from the EAPA-SA branch and subscribes to its vision, mission and goals. More members are becoming aware of its existence and how it can benefit individuals and organisations they are serving. Most importantly is the realization of the importance of rendering quality services to targeted employees in the workplace.

The KZN Chapter has successfully implemented its 2017 Operational Plan. Some of the achievements in the past year (2017) are the following:
• Chapter Chairperson attended all Board quarterly meetings
• Chapter newsletter was developed which led to introduction of EAPA-SA newsletter
• Leadership monthly magazines featuring Wellness issues were distributed monthly to members
• Shared information on EAPA activities at Provincial Strategic Forums convened by the Office of the Premier.
• EAP & Health & Safety Supervisory Workshop was offered in Newcastle Municipality on 27 June 2017
• Trauma Management Workshop ( with 5 CPD points) was convened on 31 July 2017 and attended by 46 members
• Financial awareness session for members was held on 31 July 2017
• Sponsorship received from Old Mutual Group (refreshments) and Ethekwini municipality ( venues) during 2017)
• Capacity Building Session and Annual General Meeting convened on 23 November 2017
• Drafted and adopted KZN Chapter Constitution in line with EAPA SA Constitution
• 11 delegates from KZN Chapter attended the Annual EAPA-SA Conference, September 2017
• KZN Chapter Chairperson was appointed to EAPA-SA Board (2018- 2023) at the Annual General Meeting in September 2017
• Partnership forged with Provincial Administration on events such Provincial Wellness and Sports Days
• Member survey was conducted

What do you have in the pipeline for the following 12 months?
KZN Chapter Executive Committee has already begun the preparations for next 2018. Based on the inputs from EAPA-SA strategic plan and the member survey, the 2018 plan will be finalised.

EAPA-SA Board has given a direction when it pronounced 2018 which will focus on building the foundation for Statutory Status and Financial and Organizational sustainability which are aimed at ensuring that members derive maximum benefit from EAPA participation.

The Chapter will ensure that efforts are put in building stronger relations with various key identified stakeholders. Employers and potential sponsors would be top in the list of stakeholders to be approached for support in order to sustain the activities of the Chapter.

What developments in EAP practices and programmes have you seen come to the fore in your region the past 24 months?
In the past 24 months, it is become necessary for EAP to be integrated with other programmes. The need to avoid a silo approach has dominated the discussions of those in the EAP field. For example, in addition to EAP specific activities, occupational health and safety, organizational development, conditions of service, change management initiatives should all be considered as essential ingredients in improving the quality of life of workers.

Executive Committee members:
The current Chapter Executive Committee comprises:
Mr Mzwandile (JM) Gumede – Chairperson
Dr Serena Frank -Treasurer
Mr Mbuso Ntombela -Member
Ms Nonhlanhla Nkosi -Member
Ms Simangele Simelane -Member (co-opted in 2017)

The following have since resigned from the Committee due to their personal career development:
Ms Anuysha Naidu
Ms Genevieve Poodhun
We take this opportunity to thank both of them for their contribution to the work of the Chapter and wish them all the best.

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Joel Mzwandile Gumede

Joel Mzwandile Gumede


Mr Gumede is employed as a Provincial Employee Health and Wellness Director in the Office of the Premier, KwaZulu-Natal. He coordinates the Employee Health and Wellness Programme designed to assist all employees in the employ of the Provincial Government of KwaZulu-Natal.

In his 29 years of experience in the Public Service, Mr Gumede served in various positions, as an administration clerk in the KZN Department of Finance, moved to KZN Economic Affairs as a Community Liaison Officer and promoted to Geographer post before joining the Office of the Premier as Deputy Director: Strategic Planning and Coordination and promoted to Director: HIV and AIDS and later moved to the current post of Director: Provincial Employee Health and Wellness.