Injuries on Duty

Good news in the pipeline at Fund - Mkhonto


The Compensation Fund has promised a bright future for its clients free from glitches of delayed claims that have characterized the institution for decades.


The promise was made by the Fund’s commissioner, Shakes Mkhonto, during the last stage of the roadshows to provinces in Witbank, Mpumalanga on Tuesday.


 “Time has come for us to move away from a paper-based institution to one that is automated and therefore quickening claims capturing, assessment and adjudication,’’ he told about 60 stakeholders from employers, organized labour and medical practitioners.


The commissioner said the Fund was going to look at partnerships with medical and pharmaceutical bodies and other specialist organizations to improve its processing of claims.


He said the future would see an organization staffed with a knowledge worker who is “rounded and who understands the entire value chain of the Fund.” Such a worker should be able to provide first-call resolution and world class customer satisfaction, he said.


Mkhonto said the envisaged Fund would have an Early Return to Work built into the legislation around the Rehabilitation and Reintegration of workers at the core. He said as things stand currently, employers get away with murder by not accepting responsibility for injuries sustained by workers in the workplace. This, the commissioner said, amounts to an Unfair Labour Practice.


Mkhonto said the future Fund would be decentralised in order to bring services closer to the people once agreement with trade unions have been concluded. He said all the processes and case management would be done in provinces rather than Pretoria.


Media release: Department of Labour
27 April 2011

Department of Labour: Media Release: 21 February 2012


A make or break meeting set to revolutionise the submission of documents by the Compensation Fund (CF) is to take place tomorrow (Wednesday) between the fund and the South African Medical Association (Sama) in Pretoria.


For decades, claims documents have been captured manually at the fund – leading to tons and tons of files. The meeting intends introducing the electronic capturing of documents.


This was disclosed by CF Commissioner, Shakes Mkhonto, at a meeting with stakeholders from government, business, trade unions as well as medical providers during a roadshow in Klerksdorp, in the North West on Tuesday.


“The only way we can solve the CF problem is to do away with paper and do things electronically. There is no doubt that embarking on this road will enable us to improve the turnaround payment of claims,” the Commissioner told a gathering of 60 people


He said the meeting was the product of a meeting the CF Board had with labour Minister, Mildred Oliphant last year. Following that meeting, the Board decided to embark on a roadshow to learn more about the challenges citizens were facing.


In a day filled with good news, Mkhonto said the Minister would soon announce the date for the electronic submission of return of earnings on-line. This is a form required to be completed by employers, thus enabling the fund to assess them.


Mkhonto said among the new ways of doing business at the Fund was to decentralise services and bring them closer to the people.


He said the Fund had embarked on a process of upgrading its call centre with an aim of improving the image of the organisation.


“We want a knowledge worker who under stands the full value chain of the organisation,” he said.


Mkhonto said the Rehabilitation and Reintegration policy represented a fundamental policy change in the Fund and would change the way “we do business in the future”.


“Underlying this will be the Early Return to Work that will ensure that the injured worker receives a holistic treatment and regains his dignity. This is driven by the idea that if you maim me at work, you must keep my job, otherwise it constitutes an unfair labour practice by the employer,” the Commissioner said.


Meanwhile, the Fund said more roadshows would take place in the Free State, Gauteng, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.


Media Release: Department of labour 21 February 2012





Media Release

Department of Labour – 20 February 2012

The Department of Labour’s Compensation Fund (CF) is to engage stakeholders in a national roadshow in Klerksdorp on Tuesday 21 February 2012, to promote the concept of decentralisation which is intended to propel the operational efficiency of the organisation.


The first event will start at 9am for internal stakeholders at the Departmental offices. It will be followed by another for external stakeholders at the Tusk Rio at 12 noon.


Decentralisation is an initiative whereby services of Compensation Occupation Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) are rendered at provincial level, rather than be solely provided at the CF’s head office. The initiative to introduce decentralisation in the provinces is intended to bring Compensation Occupation Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) services closer to the people.


In 2009 Decentralisation was piloted in the Limpopo, Free State; Kwa-Zulu Natal and Eastern Cape with the view of improving the turn-around time in processing claims.  In December 2010, the Fund decided the pilot was to be rolled out to the remaining provinces; Gauteng; North West; Northern; Western Cape and Mpumalanga.


The Compensation Commissioner, Shadrack Mkhonto accompanied by board’s Chairman Mongezi Mngqibisa, will lead a delegation on this national tour. Also expected to attend is Andile Makapela, the north west chief director provincial  operations.


Compensation Fund Deputy Director: Communication Dikentsho Seabo said the latest initiative follows a national pilot to test the efficacy of decentralising the services of the Compensation Fund, which had proven successful. The decentralisation is expected to be implemented in the new financial year which starts in April 2012, Seabo said.


“Prior to the decentralisation’s pilot all information and documentation had to be sent to the national office for registration, adjudication and payment. We felt from the feedback of the stakeholders and clients that this arrangement was frustrating. Prior to the decentralization the turnover time for registering and adjudication was about 90 days and this has now been reduced to 60 days, and we feel that there is still room for further improvement.


“The pilot programme cannot continue indefinitely. Soon we will want to implement the decentralization on a ’full blast’. A key component to the decentralisation has been the approval of an organizational structure and accommodation of COID staff in the provinces. Employees need not be concerned, because the restructuring will result in a need for more resources, especially in the form of human resources,” Seabo said.


According to Seabo another element in the decentralisation process has been the move away from manual processing to the introduction of electronic system since October 2011. Seabo said the key message at the roadshow would be explaining what the decentralization process was all about? Why was it being implemented? What impact will it have on the service providers, and service delivery!


She added that a number of change management sessions have been held with staff on the implication of decentralization.


“We will not only expect questions in our engagements, but also input as we engage all our stakeholders on how to improve service,” she said.  


The purpose of these road shows is to address provincial management and COID staff about the CF decentralisation process and other developments that are taking place at the Fund. The meetings will also be extended to the Stakeholders representatives of the Compensation Fund such as Organised Labour, Medical providers, Business organisations, shop stewards, etc.


The suggested programme for the day is that Commissioner and Board meet with management in the morning and with stakeholders in the afternoon.


Other roadshows will take place in the  Free State on February 24; Gauteng  February 29 and  March 13 in KwaZulu-Natal.


The Compensation Fund is a public entity of the Department of Labour whose function is to compensate workers against injuries, disability, illness, diseases and death sustained during work.


In the period ending 30 March 2011 the Fund posted a whopping R13,5-billion surplus. The Fund raises its revenue from annual once-off levies from employers. In the same period the underlying asset base rose from more than R28,1-billion to R29,4-billion.

The Fund’s total investments as at the end of the period under review sit at R27,6-billion.


Issued by: Department of Labour – 20 February 2012


Tinus Boshoff


The subject of compensation is diverse and could sometimes be confusing as well.


In South Africa, the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, Act 130 of 1993, largely governs compensation related matters.


The COIDA mainly facilitate a process which provides for payment of medical treatment and compensation for disablement caused by occupational injuries and diseases sustained by employees in the course of their employment, or for death resulting from such injuries or diseases; and to provide for matters connected therewith.


One of the questions that frequently arises, is ‘‘if an employee is involved in an accident, travelling to and from work, will the employee be covered by COIDA?’’


Well, firstly we would need to look at the term ‘‘accident’’. According to the COIDA definition it means ‘‘an accident arising out of and in the course of an employee's employment and resulting in a personal injury, illness or the death of the employee’’.


In order for the worker to claim, the accident should ‘‘arise out of and in the course of an employee's employment’’. It should have occurred while the worker was on duty and should have been part of the workers scope of duty. This means that the accident should have occurred because the employee was on duty (at work) doing what he or she was employed to do (job description). It basically means that the employment caused the accident or exposed the worker to the risk of the accident while the worker was doing a task that he or she was employed to do.


From the above mentioned information it is clear that an employee, who is travelling to and from work, would normally not be on duty and secondly not be doing what he or she was employed to do. When I drive to work I am not on duty yet and secondly it does not form part of my job description. If such an employee is involved in an accident, it will not be deemed to be an injury on duty.


Sometimes employees who are drivers or who have to be transported as part of their work may be involved in motor vehicle accidents while on duty. Will these workers be covered by the provisions of COIDA?


Section 22(5), of the COID Act addresses the matter. The subsection stipulates that ‘‘the conveyance of an employee free of charge to or from his place of employment for the purposes of his employment by means of a vehicle driven by the employer himself or one of his employees and specially provided by his employer for the purpose of such conveyance, shall be deemed to take place in the course of such employee's employment’’.


Employees who are drivers or who have to be transported as part of their work could be covered by the provisions of COIDA if the accident occurred ‘‘in course and scope of employment’’ and the following criteria are met:

  • The vehicle was provided by the employer?
  • The vehicle was provided free of charge?
  • The vehicle was provided for the purposes of employment?
  • The vehicle was driven by the employer himself or one of his employees?

Compensation would for example not be payable if an accident occurs with free transport which is provided by a contractor on behalf of the employer. These motor vehicle accidents could alternatively be covered by the Road Accident Fund Act.


It would also be important to look at situations where persons like artisans perform standby duty. If the standby worker is called out by the employer it should be viewed as ‘‘in course and scope of duty’’. If the worker is involved in an accident while travelling to the workplace, it would be deemed to be an injury on duty.


Even in cases where it would be expected from the standby worker to make use of private transport, it could still be deemed to be in course and scope of duty. The worker should however be able to prove that he or she travelled among the most economical route to work.


Please note that standby workers would be covered up to the point where they finish the task or job that they were called out to do. Travelling back home with private transport will normally not be covered by COIDA. On the other hand, if the worker makes use of an official company vehicle, provided for standby purposes, they will be covered while driving back to home.


Employers please note that the following questions are normally asked by the Compensation Commissioners office if an employee is involved in a motor accident and a claim is launch for compensation:


  • Describe in detail how and where (street names etc.) the accident happened.
  • Include detailed statements by the driver of the vehicle and eyewitnesses to the accident, describing how and where (street names, etc.) the accident occurred, as well as a diagram.
  • Who is the registered owner of the vehicle?
  • Name the place of departure and the destination of the vehicle at the time of the accident.
  • Was the vehicle travelling on a direct route to its destination from its place of departure?
  • What was the purpose of the journey?
  • Was the vehicle specifically used for the purpose described in the above question? (For example, if the purpose of the journey was to deliver bread, was the vehicle assigned to the task of transporting bread?)
  • What control did you exercise over the driver of the vehicle for determining the vehicle’s point and time of departure, destination and route, as well as being able to discontinue the transport at any time?
  • Was transport supplied free of charge to employees to transport them to and from work?
  • The registration number(s) of the vehicle(s) involved in the accident.
  • To which South African Police Station was the accident reported and what was the reference number assigned to the case?
  • The names and claim number numbers of the other injured employees, if any.
  • In whose employment was the driver of the vehicle?


If there is any uncertainty relating to an injury on duty, complete and submit the forms to the Commissioner and let them decide.

The COIDA works on the proviso of “at the discretion of the Compensation Commissioner”.


Safety greetings

Tinus Boshoff


POPI and consent - don’t get caught in your own net

By Gillian Lumb, Director, Kara Meiring, Candidate Attorney, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr


2020 has given rise to many challenges for employers. The Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 (POPI) poses yet another challenge. Employers have a grace period of one year as of 1 July 2020 within which to ensure their compliance with POPI.


POPI distinguishes between the collection, storage and processing of personal information and special person information. Special personal information includes e.g. an employee’s race or ethnic origin, health or sex life, religious or philosophical beliefs and trade union membership. Securing an employee’s consent is one of the basis on which an employer can lawfully process both general and special personal information of its employees.


It is crucial for employers to understand the meaning and interpretation of consent within the context of POPI. While employers may hope for a “quick fix” to ensure compliance and trust that including a broad, “catch all” consent in employees’ contracts of employment will be suffice – this may not prove to be adequate in every instance. A general consent may be sufficient to cover some of the personal information that will be processed during the course of an employee’s employment, however employers should be aware of the risks associated with relying on blanket consents in every instance.


Section 1 of POPI defines consent as “any voluntary, specific and informed expression of will in terms of which permission if given for the processing of personal information”. Written consent is not expressly required. However, it will be for the employer in its capacity as responsible party to show that it has secured an employee’s consent where it is relying on consent. In the circumstances it is advisable for employees’ written consent to be secured.


The requirement that consent be voluntary, specific and informed means that there should not be any pressure or force placed on an employee to consent. The employee should also be sufficiently aware of the content of the processing given the requirement that the consent is informed.


The Information Regulator has yet to give guidance on the interpretation of consent in terms of POP. In all likelihood it will have regard to the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 (GDPR) which requires that the consent is unambiguous and must be given by a clear affirmative act. It may well be that the Information Regulator interprets consent restrictively in keeping with the GDPR.


In the circumstances clauses relating to the processing of personal information in employees’ contracts of employment which are aimed at securing employees’ consent to the processing, should at minimum set out the nature and scope of the personal information that is to be processed, the reason for the processing, consent to further processing, consent to collection from a source other than the employee and consent to the transfer of the information. The employees must be able to understand in clear language what they are consenting and the extent of the consent. Where necessary provisions should also be made specifically for the processing of special personal information.


Employers should bear in mind that POPI does not demand consent in every instance and that processing may take place without consent where e.g. the processing is required in terms of law, or for the purposes of protecting a legitimate interest of the employee.


Employers will need to determine on a case by case basis whether the processing which they wish to conduct falls within the scope of the consent which they may have secured from an employee in his or her contract of employment or whether they will need to rely on one of the other basis set out in POPI.


Both special and general personal information may be processed lawfully if the processing is necessary for the “establishment, exercise or defence of a right or obligation in law”. This would cover instances where e.g. an employer processes employees’ personal information to comply with its obligations under the Employment Equity Act.


An employer can process general personal information without an employee’s consent where such processing either protects a legitimate interest of the employee, or is “necessary for pursuing the legitimate interest of the responsible party or of a third party to whom it is supplied”. While the term “legitimate interest” is not defined in POPI, it is likely that the Information Regulator will seek guidance from the GDPR in this regard. The GDPR has established a three-pronged test in interpreting “legitimate interest” which considers purpose, necessity, and balance. It first asks, “Is there a legitimate reason or purpose for the processions?”, secondly “Is processing the information necessary for that purpose” and thirdly “Is the legitimate interest overridden by the interests of the data subject?


A determination is made as to whether there is a “legitimate interest” for the purposes of processing personal information based on the answers to these three questions.


So as not to fall foul of the provisions of POPI it is recommended that employers develop internal policies that will assist them in determining whether in each instance, personal information to be processed is covered by the general consent clause in an employee’s contract of employment alternatively, by one of the other basis for lawful processing. In the absence thereof, the employer will need to prepare and secure a further consent from the employee.


For more information, please contact Gillian Lumb at

Article published with the kind courtesy of Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr www.cliffedekkerhofmeyr.com






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