southafricalogoEngineering News reports that a council of concerned industry leaders, the Injured Workers Action Group (IWAG), was launched on Monday over concerns about the “technological collapse” of the R60-billion Compensation Fund.  

The fund is a public entity under the administration of Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) and is mandated to cover the medical bills and disability pensions of workers suffering from occupational injuries or diseases.  In a statement on Monday, IWAG spokesperson Tim Hughes said the severity of the problems could not be overestimated and he called on government to swiftly address the crisis.  He said:  “If you look at the sheer number of vulnerable people who have now been failed by the system and left to fend for themselves under very trying circumstances, and the extent of that failure by the State and its technology partners, you’ll see that this is an untenable situation.”  IWAG said the DEL had long struggled with its claims system.  Last year it migrated to a new electronic system called CompEasy, but according to Hughes, CompEasy was “dead on arrival”.  He went on to claim:  “The technical failure of the system is now at such a level that, according to a large industry survey, only about 2.8% of injured workers have been able to submit claims since October 2019 and less than 1% have been paid, compared to 80% on the old system.”  On Sunday, the DEL conceded that the system was experiencing several challenges.  It encouraged all of its clients to access user manuals, which were available on its website.

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