Strategic Plan

Operationalisation of the PsySSA 2014 – 2018 Strategic Plan: Report on progress made during 2014/2018

PsySSA is currently in the third of five years of operationalising its Strategic Plan (2014-2018). The Strategic Plan, adopted at the 20th Annual General Meeting on 17 September 2014, suggests a vision for Psychology that requires the discipline and Society to be much more relevant and responsive to concerns and priorities of South Africa, Africa and the world. As such, the Strategic Plan serves as a guide to prioritise and contextualise the work of the Society, informed by the needs of psychology professionals and developments within Psychology, the healthcare sector and South African society.

In accordance, PsySSA, going forward, is to be driven by six strategic areas of focus:

  • Membership (To promote the common interests of members of the Society who are practitioners of or who are involved in the field of Psychology)
  • Growth and Sustainability (To be professional and responsive to democratically identified needs and priorities thus serving as primary resource for all Psychology professionals)
  • Effectiveness and Efficiency (To increase administrative capacity and professionalisation of the Society; new premises; and
    an enhanced public profile for PsySSA)
  • Good Governance (To strengthen all structures, systems and accountability)
  • Stakeholder Engagement and Relationship Management (To grow the visibility and influence of Psychology and PsySSA in contributing to human rights, health and well-being, and to champion the recognition, relevance and applications of Psychology to a wider audience)
  • Global Footprint (To be a continental leader and global partner in promoting and advancing the discipline in addressing individual, societal and global challenges)

In addition to the above, at the PsySSA Council meeting of 14 March 2015, the following strategic priorities for 2015 were agreed on:

  • Improved stakeholder engagement
  • A greater practitioner focus to our work
  • Media engagement (that is, heightened profile and visibility)
  • Good governance, and
  • Improved communication.

In the following section, brief feedback follows in respect of progress made during 2014/2015 by the respective sub-committee of the PsySSA Executive with each of the Key Strategic Drivers:

1. Membership – Prof Juan Nel

The five strategic objectives and sub-committees related to Membership are:

1.1 Represent, advocate for and defend our members (Prof Nel; Prof Pillay; Prof Maree)
1.2 Improve PsySSA’s profile and visibility(Prof Nel; Prof Boonzaier)
1.3 Increase membership benefits/services (Prof Laher; Dr Opperman; Mr Lockhat; Mr
1.4 Improve communication with members(Dr Crause; Prof Laher)
1.5 Increase members’ participation in PsySSA structures and activities(Prof Nel – Divisions; Prof Pillay – Branches and Standing Committees; Dr Crause; Mr Fafudi; MrLockhat)

This Key Strategic Driver prioritises the promotion of the common interests of members of the Society who are practitioners of or who are involved in the field of Psychology. As can be seen from this progress report, three of the earlier listed priorities feature under this Key Strategic Driver. They are i) A greater practitioner focus to our work; ii) media engagement; and iii) improved communication. For this reason, the report in respect to this Key Strategic Driver is more elaborate in comparison to some of the reports on other Key Strategic Drivers.

While not one of the listed priorities for 2014/2015, ongoing (reactive) responses to requests from stakeholders to represent, advocate for and defend our members have continued (i.e. HPCSA nominations/ investigation into malpractice; Ministerial Advisory Committee on mental health; the Department of Justice on the minimum age of criminal capacity; and ongoing tariff negotiations). In addition, a Terms of Reference for members representing PsySSA on external structures has been finalised. Also, the soon-to-be appointed in-house researcher (intern) will, among others, be responsible to identify relevant legislation, regulations and policies that require proactive responses from the Society.

As one of the listed priorities for 2014/2015, considerable efforts have gone into ensuring PsySSA is more visible to its (potential) members and the greater public in terms of the role that PsySSA and Psychology can play relating to the issues in the current social context. The focus has been on two areas: i) Creating a social media presence (Face Book and Twitter as methods for communication with members but also creating visibility); and ii) (Reactive and proactive) engagement with mainstream media (i.e. see The Thought Leader Blog at that was launched with the Mail and Guardian; Congress media engagement, leading to congress, at congress and after congress; and the compilation of a Media Directory of Experts willing to engage with the media around their particular areas of interest).

There are, of course, many current benefits available to members (See the list elsewhere in 2014/2015 PsySSA Annual report). While not one of the listed priorities for the year, in addition, APA members’ rates for APA convention registration, APA databases, and APA books and journals are now on offer to all members, as is a widely accessible free listing in the PsySSA Directory of Psychology professionals in private practice. With the intention to more fully provide for the needs of private practitioners, in particular, Congress now offers a dedicated practitioner stream at Congress and PsyTalk includes more articles with a related focus. Increased student benefits, include a reduced Congress fees, student workshops, and the free student membership offered at the Presidential Roadshow. The PsyTalk is now in a HTML format and substantial changes to ensure a more user-friendly PsySSA website are similarly underway.

As improved communication with members is one of the listed priorities for the year, three social media/online platforms have now been added to the list of PySSA information platforms, that is, LinkedIn; YouTube Channel; and Face Book. Soon to follow is Twitter.

Increasing members’ participation in PsySSA structures and activities is another of the listed priorities. Accordingly, PsySSA has been emphasising the message that ‘we are PsySSA’and has also encouraged active membership on all levels of the Society, including the Divisions, Branches and the Standing Committees. A PsySSA communication and design offering is now available to all Divisions; regular Divisional Communiqués have been disseminated to keep Divisional Executive Committee members to account; and towards the strengthening of structures, opportunities for Divisional Executive Committees to personally engage with the President or President-Elect have been offered.

2. Growth and Sustainability – Prof Anthony Pillay

Included under this Key Strategic Driver are the following strategic objectives:

2.1 Grow membership (Note, a listed priority for 2014/2015) – Prof Nel; Prof Pillay; Prof Maree
2.2 Grow Revenue– Dr Opperman; Prof Nel
2.3 Grow publications– Prof Pillay; Prof Laher; Prof Boonzaier
2.4 Grow influence and promote discipline–Prof Laher; Prof Pillay
2.5 Transformation of the discipline of Psychology- Prof Maree; Prof Nel; Mr Fafudi; Prof Laher; Prof Boonzaier

To grow membership, a range of marketing strategies have been implemented, including the dissemination of PsySSA information/news to all Psychology professionals and the Presidential Roadshow that visited 12 tertiary institutions in six provinces in 2015 (Note, all outstanding institutions will be visited in 2016 and annually, thereafter, if viable). Accordingly, there is evidence of accelerated growth, with more than 2 000 members, i.e. a 25% growth from 2014. For the first time 66% of the Divisions reached the benchmark of a minimum of 50 divisional members.

To grow revenue, workshops have been held. The national Congress attendance has increased with plans underway to market Congress in future to a wider target group of health professionals to add to the Congress income. More workshops are planned for private practitioners and newer therapeutic modalities. Steps have been taken to buy a property to house the Society’s offices and host workshops.

Meetings were held with SAGE about increasing the database coverage for the SAJP. The new and improved format and presentation of PsyTalk is getting more attention from Psychology professionals. PsySSA’s publication house has a research methods book in progress.

PsySSA’s international, regional, and local scientific influence is growing, evidenced by its engagement with the media, range of press statements, and a thriving SAJP with an increased impact factor over the past year and more regional and global submissions. The Presidential Roadshow increased influence in the provinces visited, bringing increased membership and the beginnings of new Branches. Also, PsySSA members have been appointed to key international Psychology structures.

In transforming the discipline, the emphasis is on building capacity within PsySSA and its structures, as well as the transformation of the discipline at tertiary institutions. In accordance, the Heads of Departments (HoD) forum has been started with a comprehensive database and the Congress programme reflects a transformed discipline. Also, a PsySSA PhD scholarship award will be launched at the 2016 Congress.

3. Effectiveness and Efficiency – Prof David Maree

This entails the following strategic objectives:

3.1 Enhance its administrative infrastructure and systems– Dr Crause; Prof Laher; Mr Fafudi
3.2 Enhance human resources capacity of PsySSA (operations) – Prof Maree; Prof Nel; Prof Laher

In terms of enhancing its administrative infrastructure and systems, good progress was in particular, made with the website, especially on the backend thereof. The ability to draw crucial statistical data from site visits, membership profiles, divisional/structure breakdowns according to provinces, etc was implemented. Automated systems (that is, reminders and alerts) will soon follow. The PsySSA Directory of Psychology Professionals in private practice was revised and will greatly assist the Society in managing referrals from the PsySSA Office.

Efficiency in the Office was addressed as a matter of great priority by revising job descriptions of personnel, appointing additional staff, establishing internships and learnership positions, and appointing an Executive Director. In addition, an organogram has been compiled not only in respect of the PsySSA Office, but also PsySSA, as a whole, in order to clarify reporting lines.

4. Good Governance – Mr Rafiq Lockhat

This Key Strategic Driver incorporates the following strategic objectives:

4.1 Develop policies, procedures and systems– Prof Pillay; Prof Nel; Prof Maree
4.2 Enhance and improve leadership capacity– Mr Lockhat; Prof Nel

Good governance was one of the priorities for this year. To give effect thereto, staffing was increased; systems and policies to reduce PsySSA’s vulnerability to financialrisks, at micro and macro levels, were introduced; and terms of reference were developed for all structures (i.e.the Executive Committee; Standing Committees, Divisions, Branches, etc) to ensure appropriate representation, executive structures, and operating procedures. An investment is also being made in improved, bigger office premises so as to enhance productivity and efficiency.

A mentoring programme to enhance the capacity of the PsySSA office was started in 2015. With Ms Fatima Seedat as mentor, Ms Harsha Chunilal (as part of her internship in Industrial Psychology) was inducted into an understanding of each and every component of work of the Society. Regarding leadership succession planning, a new position of Executive Director was created and the Office Manager position is soon to be advertised. As part of the strategy to reinvigorate the Standing Committees a call for new, suitable members, in good standing, went out. Executive members were also tasked with finding emerging Psychologists who will be placed in all such committees to ensure capacity building and continuity.

In order to ensure transfer of institutional memory and continuity at the top echelon of leadership, regular meetings have been instituted between the current, incoming and past Presidents, referred to as the Presidency. The exchange programme with PsySSA’s first MoU partners,the American Psychological Association (APA), scheduled to take place in August 2015, was placed on hold due to the APA Torture Crisis and will be reviewed in due course. Plans to host PAPU members at the PsySSA office as part of developing their capacity are currently underway.

5. Stakeholder Engagement and Relationship Management – Mr Brian Fafudi

The related strategic objectives are:

5.1 Influence Education and training standards in and about Psychology– Prof Maree,Mr Fafudi, Dr Crause
5.2 Promote knowledge production and development of psychological science– Prof Pillay; Prof Laher; Dr Crause; Mr Lockhat; Prof Boonzaier
5.3 Negotiate job creation, salaries and tariffs for Psychology professionals – Mr Fafudi;
Prof Pillay; Mr Lockhat; Dr Opperman

The HoD (Heads of Departments) Forum, established at the 20th Annual PsySSA Congress in September 2014 as part of PsySSA’s increased investment in stakeholder consultation, is a priority item under this objective. Prof David Maree is acting as Chair, while Dr Caroll Hermann serves as Acting Secretary. A data base of contact numbers and emails was established via Google Docs which includes not only Heads of Departments, but also other key people in the various Psychology departments. The Forum aims to target all registration categories and training institutions of Psychology students. Some meetings were held between the Committee members of the HOD Forum and PsySSA to plan for the following year. A meeting was similarly held at the 2015 PsySSA Congress to which all participants in the Forum were invited. A number of issues were addressed pertaining to the governing of the Forum, its mandate, professional Psychology issues, and training matters.

Regarding the promotion of knowledge production and development of psychological science, PsySSA has been involved in the Research Psychology Task team of the HPCSA Professional Board for Psychology, as well as stakeholder engagements for Psychometrics and also for Registered Counsellors. PsySSA was furthermore involved in the Southern African Psychology Students Conference. The high quality of the SAJP, evidenced by improved citation indices and the increased rejection rate and State of the science articles, similarly resorts under this objective, as does the high quality of the scientific programme at this year’s Congress. Encouraging so many students to present their work at Congress this year, speaks to capacity building, as does the publishing workshops held and two related roundtables at Congress. PsySSA was well represented at numerous International Congresses in 2015.

With regards the negotiation of job creation, salaries and tariffs for Psychology professionals, it ought to be noted that PsySSA envisages further developing its status as a union for the profession. Several government departments (including Public Service and Administration; Health; Social Development; Correctional Services and Basic- and Higher Education and Training) are deemed key stakeholders.

A preliminary progress report was presented at the 2015 PsySSA Congress on the collaborative research project that is currently being undertaken between the PsySSAPsychologists in Public Service (PiPS) Division and the UNISA Department of Industrial Psychology into service conditions in the public sector. Finally, the Department of Public Services and Administration (DPSA) is currently reviewing the Occupational Specific Dispensation (OSD) policy. PsySSA intends to make a related submission, particularly in respect of the grade progression implementation,when such notice is made public through the Government Gazette.

6. Global Footprint – Prof Juan Nel

The related strategic objectives are:

6.1 Regional Leadership – Prof Nel; Mr Fafudi
6.2 International partnerships – Prof Nel; Dr Crause

Although not an identified priority for the year, PsySSA has already made considerable progress in establishing itself as a continental leader and global partner. This is, among others, evidenced in the manner the Society lead and facilitated the launch of the Pan-African Psychology Union (PAPU) at the 20th Anniversary Congress in 2014. As it to be known by now, two South African representatives have been appointed to the PAPU leadership (Prof Cooper and Dr Watts). In addition, PsySSA is bidding to host the 1st PAPU Congress to be held in 2017/8.

PsySSA already has MOUs with 10 national psychological societies in Africa and accordingly PsySSA leadership was invited to two launches and one re-launch in 2015.To build our regional footprint, PsyTalk now includes a section for MOU partners. Several MOUs for exchange and collaboration with African regional partners will be operationalised from 2016 onwards. Also, plans are unfolding to sign four further MOUs (Tanzania, Egypt, Morocco and Senegal) during 2015-2016, informed by a Council decision that future MOU agreements will be carefully informed by the rationale behind the choice of partner and have to translate into a mutually beneficial relationship.

With regards international partnerships, as mentioned in the PsySSA 2014/2015 Annual Report, PsySSA already has MOUs with 27 other national psychological societies and established relationships with IUPsyS, IAAP, ITC and IPsyNET. Exchange programmes in the short- to medium-term are envisaged with the APA and Norwegian Psychological Association, with a further possibility being the British Psychological Society. In fact, a proposal from the APA to operationalise the existing MOU through the provision of mutual opportunities to meet, interact and collaborate as Societies would have taken effect in August were it not for the news regarding the APA Torture Crisis that was publicised shortly before the visit of two PsySSA delegates to the APA Convention in Canada.

Summary of PsySSA Strategic Plan (2014-2018)


Growth and Sustainability

Effectiveness and Ef ciency

Good Governance

Stakeholder Engagement & Relationship Management

Global Footprint

Between 2014 and 2018 PsySSA will:

Represent, advocate for and defend our members


Improve its pro le and visibility


Improve communication with members through enhancing its online infrastructure


Increase membership bene ts and services and participation in PsySSA structures through digital presence

Grow its membership

Grow its revenue

Grow its publication footprint

Grow its international, regional, and local scienti c in uence

Grow its focus on transformation of the discipline of psychology

Enhance its human resource capacity

Enhance its administrative infrastructure and systems

Enhance and improve its leadership capacity

Promote knowledge production and development of psychological science


Negotiate job creation, salaries and tariffs
for psychology professionals


In uence education and training standards in and about psychology

Pursue regional leadership

Facilitate international partnerships


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