History of the OMPTG in South Africa , OMT and Masters (OMT) Courses.


 The Manipulative Therapists’ Group [MTG] of the SASP was the ‘brainchild’ of  Brunn Winter.  She initiated the setting up of the first constitution and organised the inaugural meeting of the Manipulative Therapy Group [MTG] in Cape Town on 2 March 1974. Her foresight in establishing Manipulative therapy as an essential part of the physiotherapy profession was an important landmark in the profession.

Nine physiotherapists were present at the meeting and the first Executive Committee consisted of Moira van Oordt [nee Runnels] as chair, Brunn Winter and Katie Schoeman. This committee developed policies regarding manipulation in South Africa and promoting education in respect of manipulative therapy. When the International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Physiotherapists was formed in 1974, the MTG was one of the founder members.


Initially, South Africa’s membership of IFOMPT was based on the 78 hour Maitland course that was run by the MTG for qualified physiotherapists with a special interest in musculoskeletal conditions. The first post graduate basic OMT course [75 hours] on spinal and peripheral disorders commenced in 1978 in the Western Cape [Cape Town] and Gauteng [Johannesburg], and these were run at regular intervals after its initiation. These courses contributed to enhancing clinical performance and undergraduate teaching of manual and manipulative physiotherapy skills. In 1991 the Orthopaedic Manipulative Physiotherapy Group (OMPTG) developed the Orthopaedic Manipulative Therapy Course (OMTC), a 120-hour course which incorporated more musculoskeletal approaches than the Maitland concept.

Since 1999 the Professional Development Committee [PDC] of the SA OMPTG has held national meetings annually with the provincial OMT course leaders in an attempt to standardize the OMT course amongst the different provinces in SA.  Furthermore, steps were taken by the OMTG to register the course with a national body, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) in September 2002. This was rejected by the Health Professionals Council of South Africa (HPCSA) on the grounds that the course was presented under the auspices of the OMPTG and not through a tertiary institution. In 2009 all the OMT Course Committees of the different provinces joined forces to standardize the course’s outcomes and content throughout the whole country.  

In 2004 the SASP embarked on a leveled membership of its special interest groups [SIG]. Successful completion of a specific standardised course under the auspices of the NEC of the SIG would qualify members for Advanced Professional Development Level 2 membership of the specific interest group. In 2006  954 physiotherapists who had completed the Maitland and OMT courses up to 2005, became IFOMPT recognized manual therapists (for IFOMPT purposes) and Advanced Professional Level 2 members of the OMPTG. In 2010 these APDL2 members for the first time, had to reapply for APDL2 member status – based on maintenance of their OMT continuing professional development [CPD]. These were judged on courses they had attended, according to previously set criteria. In September 2010 395 APDL2 members were listed on the OMPTG website


In 2000 the PDC of the NEC of the OMPTG also attempted to develop a [then called] OMT2 course. The concept of an OMT2 course was to fulfill the full IFOMPT educational standards requirements and allow the South African OMPTG to maintain its IFOMPT membership. The starting date for the OMT2 course was planned for mid January 2003. The PDC then tried to register the course with a national body, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) in September 2002. This was also rejected by the Health Professionals Council of South Africa (HPCSA) on the grounds that the course was presented under the auspices of the OMPTG and not through a tertiary institution.  Therefore the concept of running an OMT2 course under the auspices of the OMPTG was abandoned.

In 2003 it was decided to approach a few universities’ Physiotherapy Departments to apply for accreditation, and then presentation, of the developed OMT2 course. Stellenbosch University, Wits University and Pretoria University were willing to proceed with the process of accrediting the course and to run it as a Masters Degree program. Throughout this year course details were finalized. Included in these were establishing the standards, qualifications and accreditation of clinical supervisions and practices for the proposed ‘Professional Masters Degree’.

In 2004 Stellenbosch University Physiotherapy University Physiotherapy Department received approval from its Senate to offer the Masters OMT Clinical Degree, and Witwatersrand University also agreed to run the degree according to the IFOMPT standards. Criteria for lecturers and clinical supervisors who would be involved in offering this course were drawn up as well as criteria for the practices to be involved in housing clinical supervision modules. Notices were put into the OMPTG Newsletter and Hands-On magazine asking interested practices to put themselves forward for supervisory practices. A policy document for supervisors and students, and outlines for all clinical blocks was drawn up. The OMT Clinical Masters Degree officially started at Witwatersrand and Stellenbosch Universities in 2005.


Initially it was decided to appoint 3 external monitors [EM] to maintain objectivity between the different Universities. The role of the EM was primarily to ensure that the theoretical, practical and clinical standards of the Masters course meet the criteria set by the Education Committee of the IFOMPT. The EM was invited by both universities to observe practical and clinical examinations. They had the opportunity to talk to students undertaking the course, and reviewed the students’ reflective diaries where available. The reports were submitted to the NEC of the OMPTG, then discussed and reported back to the universities with suggestions.

The possible external monitors assigned, were – Lorraine Jacobs, Dr Ina Diener, Annalie Basson, Dr Ronelle Jordaan, Jo-anne Sklaar and Niri Naidoo. Dr Ronel Jordaan was asked to be Wits University External Examiner, and also acted as IFOMPT External Monitor in 2005. In 2006 Joanne Sklaar monitored Stellenbosch University and Ronel Jordaan monitored Wits University. In reality they did not act as real EMs, but only monitored the examinations, doubling up as external examiners. Written reports were submitted to the universities.

Then, protocols for External Monitors, as well as for the monitoring process, were received from the Standards Committee of IFOMPT. In March 2009 an IFOMPT Monitoring Committee gathered for a strategic planning meeting regarding monitoring of the post-graduate programs in OMPT in the country. After this meeting the NEC of the SA OMPTG appointed 2 official remunerated External Monitors, Dr Ronel Jordaan and Ms Niri Naidoo, to monitor the masters programs at the Universities of the Witwatersrand and Stellenbosch. These External Monitors [EMs] reports to the NEC of the OMPTG, as well as the Monitoring Committee. The EMs assess the MSc degree program and outcomes, and identify areas for improvement and examples of good practice that could be of advantage to other institutions, as well as shortcomings that need to be addressed. External monitoring was done twice in 2009, will be done twice in 2010, and then once every year thereafter. The aim of the OMPTG is that the EMs will ensure the quality of the OMPT post graduate programs in SA and thereby maintain its good relationship and membership of IFOMPT.

© 2024 OMPTG - Welcome | Website Design and Development By Cubic Snap