Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Batswana take control of EMS outfit as Netcare 911 divests

When two Batswana entrepreneurs entered into a venture to form Netcare 991, an agreement was made that after some time, the South African medical group would sell its shareholding to the locals.

After several postponements, Netcare 911 finally sold its shares to the two Batswana shareholders, Tumelo Pabalinga and Simon Modisaeman, last July.

One of the shareholders of Netcare 991, now re-branded Emergency Assist 911, Pabalinga told Sunday Standard on Friday that there has always been an agreement to sell shareholding to ‘us’ to continue as a citizen company in 2003.

“We kept on postponing, but in 2008, we agreed that time had come,” Pabalinga, who also doubles as Finance and Administration Manager at the company, revealed.

Netcare 911 in South Africa also confirmed that they had sold their stake in the Botswana operation although they will continue working with them.

“As planned from the outset, Netcare 911 has sold its shares in Netcare 991 in July 2008,” James Crawford-Nutt, and Regional General Manager: Special Projects of Netcare 911, said through a spokesperson this week.

Netcare 911, South Africa’s largest provider of emergency services, had a 60 percent shareholding in Classic Services, which trades as Netcare 991 in Botswana.

The remaining 40 percent was shared between Pabalinga and Modisaeman on a 20/20 basis.

“The working relationship with Classic Services continues to be totally amicable,” added Crawford-Nutt.

Pabalinga told Sunday Standard that Netcare 911 (South Africa) will remain Emergency Assist 911’s technical partners and members will continue enjoying cover.

He stated that they have started their Botswana brand, adding that the six years they had with Netcare 911 exposed them to skills transfer that empowered them to run the emergency company.

“It is a test of our time,” said Pabalinga, saying that the branding will leverage on their current brand while providing the same services that they used to provide.

He added that the re-branding exercise gives them an opportunity to target other markets like Uganda, Kenya, Zambia and Malawi where South African Emergency Medical Services (EMS) companies already have a presence.
The company is a Botswana-registered company that began operating in April 2003 as a result of a joint venture between Netcare 911, a South African hospital group, and two Batswana businessmen.
Its client base includes government and corporate business in a market where there are two other competitors.
Currently, it has branches in Jwaneng, Francistown, Orapa, Mahalapye and it plans to open other offices in Kasane, Palapye and Ghanzi.

Pabalinga said of the competition: “Competition is there, but we have done well and have been competitive. We have made our mark in the market.”

Emergency Assist 911 is a member of F├®d├®ration Internationale de l’Automobile commonly referred to as FIA.

Currently, it employs 60 staff members; 55 Batswana and five expatriates.

Pabalinga said with the reviewed MVA Act, he believes there is enough for the EMS players to get fair share.

He was also encouraged by the recent advertisement by the Ministry of Health (MoH) inviting expression of interest to provide services.

“Government is looking at outsourcing its services. Private sector is very sensitive,” he said.

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The Telegraph September 30

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 30, 2020.