How to Shop for a Credible EAP Programme: Part One | EAPA-SA

There are many benefits to be had in being a member of the Employee Assistance Practitioner’s Association South Africa (EAPA-SA) for EA professionals as well as service providers and affiliates. One such benefit is the industry credibility that comes with being a member, which gives rise to the question, what part does EAPA-SA play in maintaining industry standards through the quality of its membership and how should EAP consumers shop for a credible EAP programme?


What are the benefits to EA service providers of being an EAPA-SA member?

EAPA-SA celebrated its 21st anniversary in 2019, and is the only officially recognised voice for the EA profession in South Africa. It is continually growing and expanding in terms of its scope and influence both in the public and private sector. There are currently ten active Chapters across the various provinces of South Africa.

Service provider member benefits include:

  • There is credibility in being linked to a professional Association such as EAPA-SA – a leader in EAP in Southern Africa.
  • Being placed on a register of accredited members elevates EAPA-SA members and makes them visible to potential clients through having their company profile published on the EAPA-SA website on a special service providers’ page.
  • Up-to-date industry information: EAPA-SA maintains and continually updates a comprehensive website with a secure ‘members only’ section with links to external resources.
  • Having access to the latest articles and information in the field: 
    • Up-to-date Information: EAPA-SA researches and writes 3-4 new articles and publishes interviews every month which are published on, with many of the articles exclusively for member access.
    • University of Pretoria Research: EAPA-SA provides professional Exclusive Members Access to the Theses and Dissertations from the Social Work and Criminology Department at University of Pretoria via
  • EAPA-SA’s Regional Events: EAPA-SA chapters host a range of events and seminars, and service providers are encouraged to get involved as speakers, exhibitors and sponsors. These events provide your organisation with ample opportunities to showcase what your business provides and gives you access to a captive audience in our niche industry. 
  • EAPA-SA National Events:
    • Annual Eduweek: Each year, EAPA-SA hosts its annual Eduweek devoted to employee assistance, bringing together EAP leaders and professionals from around the country to share their knowledge and experience and to help identify and shape trends for the future. 
    • Eduweb: EAPA-SA has developed an online platform, hosting regular online webinars and events for our members and stakeholders to attend during lockdown and beyond.
  • SACSSP, EAPA-SA & HPCSA CPD Points: CPD can be earned at the annual Eduweek event and the majority of Eduweb webinars alongside some other smaller events that are advertised via the EAPA-SA’s online platforms.  The underlying value of these CPD points is to maintain professional industry standards that promote excellence in practice. This is of particular benefit to service providers: assisting in the ongoing development of employee knowledge and skills, alongside reinforcing ethical practice standards that elevate the service provider and EAP as an industry. 
  • EAPA-SA has developed and is implementing its own CPD point system in accordance with the Parktown declaration signed under the auspices of SAQA.
  • A professional peer network: The EAPA-SA’s Eduweek is one of the best ways to meet and network with other EAP professionals. This annual Eduweek brings together EAP leaders from around the globe to share their knowledge and experience. Local Chapter meetings provide regional opportunities for service providers to be speakers, exhibitors and sponsors, as well as additional networking opportunities.

Click here  for a full list of service provider and individual member benefits.

How does EAPA-SA accredit members in the application process?

When considering member applications, EAPA-SA includes a request for client references and follows up to verify professional and ethical conduct as well as the quality and effectiveness of the service provided. However, it is vital that consumers should, themselves, thoroughly investigate a potential service provider.

What criteria should EAP consumers look for when evaluating an EAP service provider?

There are small, medium and large EAP service providers, each with different service options, capacity and geographical footprint. It is important to ensure that your EA service provider can meet the scope of work you expect from them.


EAPA-SA spoke to Dr Penny Mkalipe, Chief Medical Officer at Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd, to find out what criteria she employs when evaluating an EA service provider. Her main criteria are as follows:

  • Having a geographical footprint where it is required
  • Prior experience in keeping with employee headcount
  • Adequate availability of services – including offering on-site services
  • A well-resourced call centre – available 24 hours/ 365 days a year
  • Access to diverse language capabilities
  • A  toll-free number set up for customers – including SMS “Please call me” facilities for customers who do not have available data
  • Appropriate qualifications and accreditation of professionals and affiliates employed
  • An extension of services to family members and dependents
  • The availability of defusing and debriefing services
  • Value for money

When it comes to compiling the specifications for tender applications in addition to a request for comprehensive company information and proof of statutory compliance, proof of qualifications, scope of work and price, it is very helpful to ask for referees to provide evidence of the applicant’s claims, in the form of demonstrable return on investment (ROI) as well as client references regarding positive workplace outcomes.

In our Q&A session with Ndivhu Nepfumbada, Human Resources Director at Transunion Africa, she advises, “To fulfil my criteria, in addition to confirming the extent of the EA service provider’s reach, in line with both the company’s geographic requirements and their employee accessibility, it is important to obtain references from existing or prior clients, to get a sense of how capably the company have provided EAP services. In addition to providing regular evidence on ROI and high-end data, it is important that they are able to proactively supply regular, comprehensive data on a departmental level to allow HR to spot negative trends and step in to provide proactive interventions where necessary.”


Dr Penny Mkalipe, Chief Medical Officer at ESKOM Holdings SOC Ltd

Dr Mkalipe has been working as the Chief Medical Officer at ESKOM since March 2005. Before that she was a consultant in Occupational Health and managed her own private medical practice as a General Practitioner (GP) in Soweto.

Mrs Ndivhu Nepfumbada, Human Resources Director at Transunion Africa

Mrs Nepfumbada’s role involves identifying and resolving human capital issues associated with the African region. As a strategic business partner she is responsible for creating initiatives that will enable the business to achieve its business goals in terms of talent management, learning and development, engagement, change management, organisational design and development and transformation.

In part two of this article on how to shop for a credible EAP programme we will look in more detail at how EAP consumers can evaluate EAP service providers based on demonstrable impact and qualified outcomes, and build their EAP service provider selection criteria around a code of ethical principles as outlined by EAPA-SA.