Creating Legacy in EAP Business: The South African approach towards Employee Assistance | EAPA-SA

Creating Legacy in EAP Business: The South African approach towards Employee Assistance

[Book commissioned by the EAPA-SA Board and authored by Prof L S Terblanche (PhD)].

The contents of this book comprise the historical development of the concept EAP (Employee Assistance Programmes) in South Africa as well as the historical development of the Employee Assistance Professionals Association of South Africa (EAPA-SA).

In order to do justice to both the afore-mentioned focus areas, the author has incorporated information on aspects like a general introduction to the history of EAPs in South Africa, which includes the part where the EAPA-SA was hostedby the IPM of Southern Africa (Institute for Personnel Management of Southern Africa) to where it is recognised as a chapter of the international EAPA (Employee Assistance Professionals Association), based in Washington DC.

With reference to the EAPA-SA itself, coverage is given to the constitution of the EAPA-SA with inclusion of the relevant documentation, as well as a detailed reflection of the activities of the EAPA-SA Board over 20 years.  Information is provided on the EAP in South African practice, which includes full details on some empirical research previously done by EAPA-SA members and their knowledge and application thereof in practice. This part includes details on EAPs in private and public sectors inSouth Africa.  Of particular importance is the coverage of fields within the EAP, as seen at the annual conferences over a period of 20 years, thus emphasising the strong diversity and enormous contribution made by these conferences and the opportunity created for experts to share their knowledge with peers; but also for upcoming professionals and students to gain an opportunity to network with national and international experts.

The training component involved and addressed in EAP context is fully described, with details on relevant short courses and post-graduate courses offered by mainly the University of Pretoria in order to build capacity amongst upcoming and potential future role-players in the field, consisting mostly of social workers, psychologists and human resource practitioners.

The book ends with details on the role of international role-players in the field of EAPs, giving recognition to not only some prominent experts in the field, mainly academics, but also to some international structures in the field, i.e. EAPA.

The value and contribution of the book is embedded in the fact that this book is a first to explore and describe the historical development of an upcoming and growing discipline in the field of human resources as well as the history of the EAPA-SA, as the voice of EAPs in South Africa and recognised by the SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority) as a professional association with the embedded rights and responsibilities.

In terms of the methodology used, the author mainly applied document analysis as a means of data collection, but also generated data by consulting and interviewing experts in the field as part of a qualitative research approach, which included all previous presidents of the EAPA-SA and CEOs of the main EAP service providers in South Africa.

As a first in South Africa, this book should be recognised for its contribution towards the dissemination of original research and reflection of the latest developments in the field of EAPs currently found in most of the leading workplaces including public sector departments and corporate companies.

The research was carried out over a period of about 5 years and entails 650 pages with recognition of the sponsors for the publication of the book by St Paul & John, Sandton South Africa.  The official launch of the book had taken place on 19 September 2018 during the Annual EAPA-SA Conference in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa and titled The EAPA-SA and Pan-African Eduweek from 18 – 21 September 2018.

The book can be ordered from: Order Book Here or EAPA-SA at at a cost R795 (excl. postage) or  ± $53. See flyer for full details.

About the author:  Prof Lourie Terblanche (PhD) has been active in the EAP field since 1983 and is the programme manager of the masters training in EAPs offered by the Department of Social Work and Criminology, University of Pretoria, South Africa.  He is a rated researcher by National Research Foundation in South Africa and delivered about 90 masters and 12 doctoral graduates.  He has delivered papers at several international conferences, including those organised by EAPA, EAEF (Employee Assistance European Forum) and APEAR (Asia Pacific Employee Assistance Roundtable).

Document prepared by:  Lourie Terblanche (PhD) on behalf of the Board of EAPA-South Africa.


“Employee assistance programmes (EAPs) are holistic workplace initiatives designed to assist employees with a range of work- and personal-related problems that may affect their job performance as well as their overall wellbeing.

Traced back to beginnings in the 1930s, when the earliest crude EAPs tackled alcohol problems, EAPs are widely used by large organisations today to help maintain a happier, healthier workforce. EAPA-SA is the official voice of the Employee Assistance (EA) profession in South Africa. Now approaching its 20th anniversary, this registered N.P.O. strives to ensure the highest level of professional standards, ethics and continuing development of Employee Assistance Programmes in this country, working with 500 individual members and 28 registered service Providers. As a branch of the international Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA) it has twice been named Branch of the Year; received several international awards and influenced the evolution of EAPs in Africa and globally.

To commemorate its anniversary, EAPA-SA approached Professor Lourie Terblanche of the University of Pretoria – and past President of the organisation – to compile this publication; both to exhaustively mark the many contributions of numerous individuals to advancing the EAP industry in South Africa, and to provide the definitive guidebook to organisations wishing to launch an EAP – or to optimise their existing employee assistance efforts.

Exhaustive it is, covering the genesis of EAPs in South Africa’s mining belt in the early1980s, to expansion of the EAP concept into other industries and, ultimately, to EAPA-SA networking with, and drawing influence from, other stakeholders in the African and international EAPA network. To pull together this detailed historical overview, Professor Terblanche scoured archives and boxes of manuscripts and interviewed past presidents, chairpersons and others integral to EAPA-SA’s growth. Particularly engaging is the wealth of historical insight on a host of EAPA-SA service providers and role players in South Africa, from prominent industry players ICAS to LifeAssist, KAELO, BSS Africa and many other – to a degree – unsung heroes of the EAP movement in this region. The accomplishments of notable individuals both within and in association with EAPA-SA are recorded, and there is frequent reference to the late JBP Starker; trained psychologist, mentor to the author and the man who first introduced the EAP concept into South Africa. The book also revisits every conference and gathering of import to the advancement of EAPA-SA, and the awards it has handed out to hard-working individuals and chapters over the years. Definitive it is, too, with almost 100 pages outlining the official “Standards for Employee Assistance Programmes in South Africa” – constituting essential reference material for any organisation, in the public and private sector that wishes to implement a holistic, responsive and responsible EAP.

The Standards guidelines are accompanied by a detailed Needs Assessment Tool; together they provide a platform from which any organisation can build an EAP suited to its particular make-up. EAPs in both the public and private sector receive significant coverage by the author. At almost 700 pages in all, it is no wonder the book took longer than Professor Terblanche had expected to complete; but his efforts were certainly worth it, resulting as they did in a full account of the genesis, history and future of EAPA-SA, for all who have been part of the journey – and as a benchmark guide for the application of EAPs in all sectors and industries. I have no doubt that EAP BUSINESS will expand the association’s influence globally, and that the strength of “the South African approach” will be widely discussed around the international EAPA network – Gareth Pike, Future of HR Content Head.”