A silent internal battle “for the soul” of the South African Medical Association (Sama) has been raging for more than two years. It’s about to come to a head as doctors face unprecedented medico-political and regulatory pressures.

Sama, with just over 12,000 members out of 35,000 registered doctors, is the largest doctors’ organisation in the country. At the heart of its dispute is a complaint by the association’s Cape Western branch, which regards the Sama board as illegally constituted. This view has been upheld by the Companies & Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) and the Companies Tribunal. The CIPC ordered the Sama board to convene a council meeting within 20 days but has suspended its decision after the board appealed to the high court to overturn the two rulings...

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