A STRUGGLE WITH NO END
It is no secret that the Workmen Compensation Fund has been in a state of disarray and complete dysfunctionality for a number of years.
Employers and employees alike have been suffering under the yoke of an organisation which seemingly has no interest or ability to fulfill its mandate.
NEASA has, on a number of previous occasions, written to the Compensation Commissioner, as well as the Minister of Employment and Labour, to make them aware – if it was at all possible that they were not aware – of the plight of employers and employees and the dire consequences of the Fund not being operational.
A previous survey conducted by NEASA to determine the severity of the problem rendered hundreds of complaints from frustrated employers. The result of the survey was shared with the Commissioner as well as the Minister, to no avail. (Please click here should you wish to read these complaints).
One would have expected that a Government who portrays itself as a ‘government of the people’, would jump at the opportunity to prove this and resolve the pandemic of dysfunctionality, incapability, unproductivity, and simple corruption that have decimated the Fund.
Instead, the silence was deafening, and absolutely nothing has been done, nor does there seem to be any intention to address the issue.
Maybe the Minister and the Commissioner do not believe or understand how deep the rot really is and believe that the complaints are much ado about nothing.
To demonstrate the enormity of the problem, we have set out below a typical scenario that employers and employees are facing on a daily basis when dealing with the Fund. The events portrayed therein is a real-life scenario in respect of one of NEASA’s employees which were injured on duty in 2014 and who’s claim has still not been resolved:
10/11/2014 Application submitted. Documents hand-delivered to PTA Compensation House
27/03/2015 Medical / Accident Report e-mailed
01/04/2015 Documents hand-delivered to PTA Compensation House
07/04/2015 E-mailed documents
10/04/2015 Application transferred to Limpopo
11/05/2015 E-mailed bank confirmation documents as requested
2015-2017 Used …, a third party to assist, with no results
12/06/2017 E-mailed … to follow up
13/06/2017 Sent follow up e-mail again
14/06/2017 Application transferred back to PTA, …, e-mailed all documents again
22/06/2017 Follow up e-mail sent
27/07/2017 Documents hand-delivered to PTA …
01/06/2018 Application transferred to Limpopo
11/06/2018 Documents hand-delivered to Polokwane office
11/06/2018 Confirmation e-mail to …
21/06/2018 Sent all the documents again to follow up
26/06/2018 Follow up e-mail sent again
04/07/2018 Follow up e-mail sent again, received feedback that we must wait 60 days
18/09/2018 60 days passed
26/09/2018 Follow up e-mail sent
28/09/2018 … (Polokwane) phoned me and told me that the application will be transferred back to PTA
28/09/2018 E-mailed all the documents again to PTA
18/03/2019 E-mailed … for confirmation of outstanding payments
06/05/2019 Follow up e-mail sent
27/05/2019 Follow up e-mail sent
10/06/2019 Follow up e-mail sent, received feedback from … stating that I must recon all payments
18/06/2019 Reply to … to confirm that the recon has already been done
16/07/2019 Follow up e-mail sent
02/08/2019 Follow up e-mail sent
05/08/2019 Received feedback from … stating that I must recon all payments
12/08/2019 Sent through ALL the payments will recon schedule
26/08/2019 Follow up e-mail sent
02/09/2019 Follow up e-mail sent
09/09/2019 Follow up e-mail sent
16/09/2019 Follow up e-mail sent
08/10/2019 Letter to minister sent
09/10/2019 Follow up e-mail sent
23/10/2019 Follow up letter to Minister sent
24/10/2019 Follow up e-mail sent
25/10/2010 Received feedback stating they cannot assist, busy with system change to …
18/11/2019 Follow up e-mail sent
10/12/2019 Follow up e-mail sent, received feedback stating that they are still busy with new system
08/01/2020 Follow up e-mail sent
14/01/2020 Follow up e-mail sent
21/01/2020 Follow up e-mail sent
04/02/2020 Follow up e-mail sent, received feedback stating that they are still with a system migrate
04/02/2020 Sent all the documents again, … replied stating I must e-mail … in finance
05/02/2020 Sent all documents to …
12/02/2020 Follow up e-mail sent
18/02/2020 Follow up e-mail sent
03/03/2020 Follow up e-mail sent
Offices closed due to Covid
08/06/2020 Follow up e-mail sent
Offices partially closed due to Covid
07/07/2020 Follow up e-mail sent
13/07/2020 Follow up e-mail sent
24/08/2020 Follow up e-mail sent; … replied stating I must go into the finance office for assistance
This is but one example and there most probably are thousands more just like this, or probably even worse.
By now it should be clear to the Minister and Commissioner that the Fund is not only totally dysfunctional, but even beyond the point where it can be fixed. We consequently suggest that the Government does the honorable thing and outsource the function to a private organisation that is capable of getting the job done.
There is no longer time to dawdle on this issue. Every day that goes by more and more injured employees’ claims are gulped up by the decayed machinery of the Fund, most likely never to be seen again.
We are all in this together.
Privileged and challenged to be South African.