7 December 2012

South Africa: Department of Labour to Prioritise Elimination of Claims Backlog At Compensation Fund - Labour Dg Nhleko

press release

The Department of Labour's (DoL) Compensation Fund (CF) is sitting with an unprecedented claims of about 600 000 and plans to wipe off these claims within four to six months to reduce the escalating backlog.

The Department of Labour will rope in specialist and experts to assist with this kind of work; said Nkosinathi Nhleko, Director-General of the Department of Labour.

Nhleko, who was addressing the DoL's mid-term evaluation and planning workshop in Muldersdrift, Gauteng, on 7 December 2012 said processes have already kicked off with the planned appointment of an internal project manager and team of managers to run with the turnaround initiative.

The mid-term review provides the Department of Labour's top management team, led by the Minister of Labour Mildred Oliphant, with an opportune moment to reflect on progress made with the implementation of the Annual Performance Plan (APP) (2012-2013) over the past six months and to plan for the next financial year.

"We are all agreed that the business of Compensation Fund has to be turned around. One of these days CF problems will form part of a broad band of service delivery issues facing the country. There are a number of issues - relating to people, processes and systems - in the overall business capability that need urgent attention and intervention.

"This backlog is accumulating. We want the turnaround team to work closely with the office of the Chief Information Officer to use all available resources to fast-track the elimination of the backlog," Nhleko said.

Nhleko was at pains to point out that the Compensation Fund has historically been faced with various challenges in delivering efficient and timeous services to its stakeholders.

"The challenges are complex in nature as they are systematic and have been in existence for years," Nhleko said adding that part of the complication of CF was that it was both a hybrid of insurance and a form of medical aid.

The Compensation Fund is a public entity of the Department of Labour. The Fund provides cushion for workers injured at work or who contract occupational diseases.

"The problem of the backlog has been escalated to the public protector office. We had a meeting recently to resolve the matter," Nhleko said. This engagement had opened a public avenue of engagement and this should be used as part of an oversight mechanism to respond on matters raised.

He further cautioned that the fraud and corruption risk exposure was still very high and the matter would continue to receive priority.

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