The National Accreditation Board for Family Mediators [referred to as “NABFAM”] emerged in 2010 from the need for a national accrediting body which promotes mediation and the ethical standards and integrity of practising family mediators in South Africa, and which will also promote transformation in the industry. The commencement of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 in 2010 represented the immediate context for the formation of this Board and the primary focus of the Board is on family mediation and mediations in terms of the Children’s Act.
The Board is structured in such a way as to affirm the independence and authority of its member organisations based in the various provinces of South Africa, initially Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.
NABFAM is a standing committee of the Africa Centre for Dispute Settlement at the University of Stellenbosch Business School [“ACDS”]. The Board is not a distinct legal entity, and forms part of the University of Stellenbosch, and is subject to the governance of a Control Committee, established by the University.
For the purpose of the activities of the Board “family mediation” is defined as a process whereby one or two impartial mediators assist a couple or family members in their discussions with one another, in relation to any family disputes that may exist between them, with a view to the resolution of such issues on an informed basis. This includes parenting coordination and divorce mediation, which is defined as a form of family mediation which relates specifically to any and all matrimonial issues, including separation and divorce matters, questions concerning children, and issues relating to property and finance.
The Board is an industry representative accrediting body that will do the following:
- define and publish national accreditation standards for family mediators, family mediation courses and family mediation trainers;
- Maintain and publish a national register of accredited family mediators, family mediation courses and family mediation trainers;
- Actively promote transformation and representivity in the family mediation industry;
- Facilitate adherence by all family mediators to a standard code of conduct.
- Maintain adherence to the accreditation standards by all member organisations.