The Colleges of Medicine of South Africa
SA Dept of Health Website

Frequently asked questions about the CMSA

Posted: 2024-02-29 09:00

The Colleges of Medicine of South Africa  
The CMSA is opposed to all forms of discrimination  
The CMSA has undergone significant transformation over the past few years. Transformation includes race  
and gender of its leadership, as well as the formats, fairness and digital delivery of its examinations at multiple  
regional examination centres and hosting regional admission ceremonies to benefit candidates. The CMSA’s  
examinations conform with best international practice. In this document the CMSA addresses frequently  
asked questions to clarify these changes.  
candidates in the work setting?  
1. What is the CMSA?  
The CMSA is an independent, not-for-profit, membership organisation, with a paid-up membership of >11,000  
medical and dental specialists and diplomates. It was established in 1955, prior to which aspirant specialists  
had to travel to the United Kingdom to take examinations. Its founding objectives include “promoting skill,  
efficiency, ethical standards and professional conduct for the benefit of humanity and promoting the honour  
of the medical and dental profession.”  
The CMSA is mandated by the HPCSA to conduct national unitary examinations for all medical specialist  
and subspecialist disciplines on behalf of and in close collaboration with all South Africa’s medical schools.  
It also conducts dental specialist examinations for those who choose to take them. It offers biannual  
certification examinations in 95 disciplines and confers about 1100 Diplomas, 1100 Fellowships in 38  
specialties, and 200 Certificates for medical subspecialists per annum.  
The CMSA is guided by the following core values:  
Transparent in its processes, communication, and leadership structures.  
Responsive and focused on the societal impact of the services it provides.  
Candidates undergoing exams with the CMSA are provided with the right to Equality, Dignity, and Privacy.  
The CMSA strongly endorses internationally recognized standards of human rights, condemns all forms  
of violence, and is committed to the development of a just and peaceful society in which educational,  
health, recreational and other social services are available to all.  
The CMSA is opposed to all forms of discrimination on the grounds of race, religion or gender and believes  
that such discrimination is incompatible with the ethical practice of medicine and dentistry.  
2. What is the CMSA’s organisational structure?  
The CMSA has 29 constituent colleges that represent all medical and dental specialties. Its elected leadership  
is drawn from medical and dental specialists from all training universities and from the private sector. The  
CMSA is governed by its Senate on academic and examination matters and by its Board of Directors, all of  
whom are nominated, and voted for, by the CMSA’s members and by College Councils, in a federal structure  
with a strong centre. The Social and Ethics Committee provides guidance and oversight.  
3. What is the CMSA’s transformation record?  
The recent leadership actively transformed the CMSA with a focus on race and gender for which it received a  
Standard Bank Top Gender Empowered Company award in 2022. The 2020 and 2023 elections show how  
transformation is consolidated in the CMSA: 70% of the current Board of Directors and 63% of Senators are  
persons of colour and 35% of colleges are led by female Presidents. Transformation milestones include electing  
Prof Flavia Senkubuge as the CMSA’s 1st black female president in 2019; and the appointment of Mrs Yolokazi  
Kanzi as our first black female academic registrar in 2020.