The Compensation Fund has informed employers that it will be shutting down its systems for just over two weeks, from Monday 15 March to Wednesday 31 March for a financial year update.
However, the Injured Workers’ Action Group (IWAG) says it is alarmed by the notification. “There has been no explanation for the shutdown, but is another indication of its dysfunctionality,” IWAG spokesperson Tim Hughes said.
He said the shutdown takes place at the same time the Department of Employment and Labour notified domestic workers and their employers to register with the fund.
The registration requirement comes after the November 2020 landmark judgment by the Constitutional Court ruling that employees who perform domestic work in the home of their employer and suffer an injury or contract an illness while on duty must be included as beneficiaries.
“It is widely recognised that the fund is dysfunctional and one cannot underestimate the far-reaching devastation this has on the lives and livelihoods of the injured, mostly blue-collar workers of this country and their families.”
Tim Hughes, spokesperson of IWAG, says in a recent IWAG survey of employers, only 31% were able to successfully report an injury on duty.
The Compensation Fund’s main objective is to provide compensation for disability, illness and death resulting from occupational injuries and diseases.
There have been complaints before from workers, employers and medical service providers who find it extremely difficult to access the fund’s systems. The fund has assets of more than R60 billion and at least R26 billion in reserves.
The fund replaced its IT systems in October 2019 with a new SAP-based IT system called CompEasy at a cost of R285 million to simplify and expedite its claims process. However, the system is reportedly not making it any easier to register and adjudicate claims and payments.