Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

As we enter into a phase where the presidency will start announcing the return to work for certain industries, we run another strange but obvious risk arising from the dysfunctionality of the department of employment & labour.

It is a well-documented fact that the Workmen’s Compensation Fund has been dysfunctional for almost 20 years. There have been many reported cases of individuals who have been injured or become ill at work but have not received their payments. Alongside this, the medical profession has reported years of non-payment from the Workmen’s Compensation Commission. Many employed in the medical profession have refused to treat Compensation Fund patients.

When the economy begins to open up after the lockdown there will be cases in the hundreds, if not in the thousands, of people who will catch the virus at work. These employees will be entitled to lodge claims with the Compensation Fund. This extra pressure on the fund will clearly make matters go from bad to worse.

Now is the time for the fund to seriously consider handing over its functionality to one or more competent and able insurance companies. This will avert the payment disaster we are now experiencing from the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

Michael Bagraim
DA labour and employment spokesperson

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