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Medical workers file for compensation claims as a result of covid-19 infections


The Department of Employment and Labour is increasingly playing a critical role not only in the compensation of those who may find themselves becoming ill at work because of COVID-19 but also in terms of relieving the plight of workers who might otherwise find themselves without any income as a result of the virus.


The department, which has responsibility to a large swathe of worker-related issues including compensation for injury or disease contracted on duty; workplace inspections for health and safety; unemployment insurance; the conciliation, mediation and arbitration of workplace conflicts and productivity finds itself at the centre of government’s response to the ill-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.


Already, the Compensation Fund (CF) has seen 212 COVID-19 related claims with the largest number coming from KwaZulu-Natal having registered 76 claims. The Fund has accepted liability of 67 of those claims; two have been repudiated while seven are awaiting adjudication.


The Western Cape is the second biggest applicant with 75 claims with 41 of those accepted and 34 awaiting adjudication.


Gauteng received 30 claims and half of those have been accepted, four repudiated and 11 are awaiting arbitration while the Eastern Cape has registered 28 cases of which 26 have been accepted, one has been repudiated and another awaits arbitration. Two claims have been registered from Limpopo with one accepted and the other repudiated; meanwhile Mpumalanga had only one case which has been accepted.


The majority of those who have been affected are female accounting for 89%.


According to CF Commissioner, Vuyo Mafata, most of those affected are nurses in the private sector with 65 affected in KZN, 26 in Western Cape and 18 in Gauteng. In the Eastern Cape 12 nurses that have been affected are in the public sector.


A further 42 claims have been lodged through the Mutual Association of which one has been accepted, seven repudiated and 34 are pending adjudication.


Mafata went on to explain what the various stages mean.



“When we say we have accepted the claim as a valid occupational injury or disease, it means we accept responsibility for the costs related to the claim (medical aid costs and disability costs). When it is repudiated, it means we have not accepted the claim as a valid occupational injury or disease and we will not take responsibility for the costs related to the claim (medical aid costs and disability costs).


“Sometimes we do not accept liability which means we have repudiated a claim but may still reconsider it if additional information is submitted to support the claim.


Lastly when we say the claim is pending adjudication it means the claim has been received but no decision has been made on the claim due to outstanding information or claim has not been attended to as yet”, Mafata concluded.


Meanwhile, with regard to inspections of workplaces, the Inspector General Aggy Moiloa has bemoaned the low level of compliance with health and safety protocols especially since the lockdown due to the pandemic.


“There is no significant change whatsoever in the percentage of compliance since the last inspection”, she said.


Over this period, there have been 4 306 inspections conducted with 2374 workplaces complying. This works out to 55% which means a whopping 45% of employers aren’t complying.


“In the public sector non-compliance is at 54% which is unacceptable. In the private sector compliance is at 57% which still means non-compliance at 43% is unacceptable.


“Employers have a legal duty to ensure that all workers operate under conditions of safety especially with rising cases of coronavirus afflictions”, she said.


Non-compliance has direct effects on presenting future cases of compensation.


Meanwhile, the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) in terms of supporting workers who might be affected by the lockdown, has already paid over R20-billion since April, benefitting 3 517 346 workers. This includes some payments for May claims which currently stand at just over R2-billion (R2 051 992 742.02).


The figures also reflect an increase in direct payment to workers which now stands at 133 988 being paid directly an amount of R594-million. These workers’ claims were submitted by 9 747 employers. On the other hand disbursements to dom estic workers have increased to just under R100-million which has been paid out to 25 074 workers represented by 15 014 workers.


The UIF however, is still concerned about a high number of undeclared workers on whose behalf employers are putting in claims. In the latest round of claims employers have claimed for at least 76 599 workers who do not appear on the database for benefit payment of R325-million.


In April the UIF received applications of 697 418 workers who did not appear on its database from 113 080 employers and had payments been made, they would have netted close to R3-billion in relief benefit payments.


“This is a serious cause for concern and we appeal to employers to help the UIF to be able to reconcile these claims for these workers against our database”, said the UI Commissioner Teboho Maruping.


For more information contact:

Teboho Thejane

Departmental Spokesperson


Issued by: Department of Employment and Labour

8 June 2020








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