As a result of NEASA's first hand experiences dealing with the Workmen Compensation Fund, as well as numerous complaints received from employers, NEASA recently conducted a survey regarding employers' experiences in dealing with the Fund.
The overwhelming feedback from employers illustrates their extreme frustration with the Fund's complete lack of service and competence.
Having perused hundreds of complaints, the Fund's level of competence can be best described by this statement from a very frustrated employer: “...documentation being lost for the third time. The incompetence, unhelpful, inefficient display by the COID together with the inability to comprehend and address an issue”.
Apart from the fact that billions of Rands are fed into the coffers of the Compensation Fund, without any service in return, the inefficiencies of the Fund have a direct impact on the operational abilities of employers. The fact that businesses lose contracts because 'certificates of good standing' cannot be obtained from the Fund and medical practitioners refuse to treat injury on duty claims as a result of non-payment of the Fund, are just two examples. There are a host of others.
It is clear that there is a total regression of the Compensation Fund into a dysfunctional, non-accountable shell of its former self.
Despite NEASA's attempts to engage officials at the highest levels of government regarding the myriad of issues plaguing the Workmen Compensation Fund, our pleas have seemingly fallen on deaf ears as the situation is clearly not improving.
Notwithstanding the fact that the previous correspondence directed at the Minister has gone unanswered, we again escalated the matter to the Minister.
The fact that the Department of Employment and Labour has neglected to engage on this matter, prompted us to ventilate the crisis in the public domain.
By Gerhard Papenfus, Chief Executive of the National Employers’ Association of South Africa (NEASA).