by Staff reporter


From 19 to 22 September, South Africa's only annual Employee Health and Wellness Conference, organised by EAPA-SA, took place at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg


The 19th annual conference saw over 300 delegates ranging from CEOs to HR Directors; Wellness Practitioners; Occupational Health and Safety Officers; Clinical Psychologists; Occupational Therapists; Labour Relations Specialists; Transformation Specialists; Organisational Development Managers and HIV and Aids Coordinators gather over four days with the intention of receiving an update on cutting-edge EAP trends and hearing from thought leaders within the EAP, employee wellness and human resources fields.

In his opening remarks, EAPA-SA President, Mr Tinyiko Chabalala, introduced the conference theme: RESPONSE-ability: Engaging to Shape the Ideal Workplace. He emphasised that the EAPA-SA board hoped delegates would each learn something that could be taken back to the workplaces where EAP professionals would be enabled to improve the industry’s programmes and services with a view to improving employee productivity.

The EAPA-SA Conference was proud to have been graced by a visit from Cllr Lesiba Mpya (Acting Mayor of Ekhuruleni) who welcomed the EAPA-SA delegates to his city.

This year’s conference was supported by a range of sponsorships from EAPA-SA stakeholders. The event is able to continuously grow due to the support that EAPA-SA receives from its membership database and its stakeholder relations. EAPA-SA is proud to have their 2017 conference associated with Old Mutual as the lead sponsor and continues to develop relations with all of its stakeholders.

EAPA-SA Board 2018 - 2023

The EAPA-SA Board for 2018 – 2023 was announced as follows:

  • Tinyiko Godfrey Chabalala (Current President)
  • Thiloshni Govender (President Elect)
  • Radhi Vandayar
  • Dr Marion Borcherds
  • Jimmy John Lenong
  • Bernadette Roberson
  • Mzwandile Gumede
  • Pravesh Bhoodram
  • Isaac Koto
  • Andiswa Lefakane

Board member portfolios will be announced after the first board meeting in September 2018.

EAPA-SA Annual Presidential Awards

At the prestigious Presidential Awards Dinner, the 2017 award winners were announced by Mr Tinyiko Godfrey Chabalala.

  1. Chapter of the Year 2017: EAPA Egoli, the hosts of this year’s conference
  2. Individual EAP Practitioner of the Year 2017: Nontobeko Mtetweni
  3. Individual EAP Professional of the Year 2017: André Cloete
  4. EAP for Africa Special Project Award: Dr Marion Borcherds
  5. EAPA-SA Special Recognition Award 2017: Dr. Marion Borcherds
  6. Certificate of Excellence for Board Member: Radhi Vandayar

After the formalities were completed, delegates were treated to a Silent Disco that was sponsored by Capitec Bank, one of EAPA-SA’s stakeholders and sponsors, linking to the Capitec Bank Better Live Better campaign.

International speaker: Rev. Lyndon Harris

International Speaker Rev. Lyndon Harris, who in 2001 was the priest in charge of St. Paul’s Chapel at Trinity on Wall Street, spoke about the power of forgiveness. Recalling the 911 terror attack, he spoke about the outpouring of humanity and resilience shown by members of his parish and thousands of locals within the New York community. He spoke about the helpers, and hope and generosity of the people; of the manner in which catastrophe brings out compassion in humanity.

Rev. Harris cited forgiveness at work as being the least understood leadership trait in the workplace, stating that it is vital to create a culture of forgiveness in our working environment. Rev. Harris’ reference to the South African experience made his presentation relevant in a South African context. Forgiveness is not only significant in our personal lives but in the South African workplace due to issues that employees face as a result of unmanaged diversity and conflict at work.

Key takeouts from the conference

Stephen Davids, founder of Social Wellness Consulting, shared his personal journey in overcoming his dependence on alcohol; how in 2003 an encounter with the employee of a wellness programme changed his life forever. By 2008, Stephen had graduated with a BA in Social Work and found employment at an NGO that specialised in the rehabilitation of offenders. Stephen’s personal journey moved from substance abuse to seeking help through EAP and then on to the rewriting of his life’s story through changing his life both educationally and personally.

Dr Michael Mol (member of the Metropolitan Health team) gave a presentation that was practical and easy to understand on the impact of an unhealthy lifestyle, offering sensible tips to use on a daily basis with an emphasis on the merits of exercise. Dr Mol presented his digital health and medical service app called ‘Hello Doctor’. This is an app that can be downloaded to your mobile device, which gives one access to being able to text a doctor or being able talk to a doctor. Hello Doctor gave away free 3-month subscriptions to delegates who signed up.

Dr Fundile Nyathi from Proactive Health Solutions gave a presentation titled “EAP Industry in South Africa: A ‘Sitting Duck’ for Major Disruption”. He shared the Porter’s Five Forces and PESTEL models as frameworks for analysis and strategic planning within EAP—in light of the fact that EAP needs to ‘talk disruption’ as a field, considering that all industries are disrupting their markets. The challenges that he left delegates to consider are: the impact of not embracing technology, the lack of an indigenous EAP model, an inability to objectively introspect the profession and adapt to new changes and developments in the world of work.

Professor Lourie Terblanche from the University of Pretoria spoke about the research project commissioned by the EAPA board in order to document the history of EAP in South Africa. The resulting book will be available once the organisation secures sponsors to publish it in 2018. Professor Terblanche introduced this exciting project, which connects all the dots within EAP as well as the significant role that the EAPA-SA and its board members have played over the years—for individuals in the field, professional organisations and the industry itself. This is a first in the world.

Mr Zaheer Hammersly from Careways spoke about the impact of non-communicable diseases (NCD) as threatening to negate the miniscule economic growth taking place in South Africa. The cost of unhealthy lifestyles and rising morbid obesity is creating a pandemic-level burden of disease, which our economy will struggle to cope with. All of this is within our control to prevent.

The conference wrapped at 14:30 on Friday, 22 September. Conference Convenor Portfolio Holder and Board Member, Bernadette Roberson had this to say, “In celebrating the 20-year anniversary of EAP in South Africa; combined with a thought-provoking and educational speaker programme; over 300 attendees this year and exciting activations from our sponsors, this conference will have the reputation of being one of our best yet! The board members worked together in their various portfolios to pull together a very successful conference with our service providers and stakeholders. Having EnOv8 Event Management support our efforts in coordination and guest management, nothing could go wrong. Our sponsor partnerships grow and deepen each year and we could not have done it without them and our amazing members and delegates who continue to support us each year.”

To find out more about EAPA-SA, membership and their annual conference, please visit


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