Rolling Inspiration and QASA have received many complaints and queries about the Department of Labour and more specifically the Workmen’s Compensation Fund. We decided to pay the head office in Pretoria an unexpected visit to clear up the confusion and try and resolve these issues.

Firstly, I am upset to report that there is no disabled parking available and that the uneven sidewalks are definitely not easily accessible in a wheelchair.  

“We arrived early in the morning and then joined hundreds of people in the queue who were already waiting for their payments.  I chatted to a few regular visitors and asked if they were happy with the service they were receiving. “Although the queues are very long we move very fast and the system is very organized,” said Mpho. A lady named Joy added that the ladies at the pay points work tirelessly and never break for lunch to help as many people as possible. I must admit the process of receiving benefits was running smoothly and although I was escorted out of the building because I was taking photos, I was quite impressed with the service.

So why were so many of our readers complaining about dealing with the Department of Labour? This article aims to alleviate some of the challenges of claiming Workmen’s Compensation.  Themba Mdluli, assistant director: Communications of the Compensation Fund, answered a few of our questions.

There have been some rumours that a senior official in the finance department has been suspended from the fund amid allegations of fraud. Can you confirm this?

Yes, we can reveal that the acting Chief Financial Officer has been suspended from the fund as he allegedly made irregular payments to some medical service providers. The investigation has been concluded and we are in the process of implementing the recommendations. We are also giving those implicated an opportunity to respond to the findings against them before further steps are taken. Once the investigation has been concluded, an official media statement will be provided.

Who do paraplegics and quadriplegics contact if they are having problems with the payment of their medication?

The procedure for the payment of chronic medication is as follows:

  • The doctor prescribing the medication submits a written request to medical services. Approval is faxed to the doctor and it is valid for six months.
  • During the six months chronic medication is paid and after six months the doctor should renew the prescription.

Sometimes chronic medication is given to an employee without pre-authorization. This result in delays, as medical payments are dependent on pre-authorization. The fund is processing medical accounts in the following provinces and if the doctors are in the vicinity of that provincial office, the unpaid pharmacy accounts can be submitted there. The following provinces are currently processing medical accounts:

  • Cape Town provincial office
  • Durban provincial office
  • Free State provincial office
  • Mpumalanga provincial office
  • Johannesburg provincial office
  • Limpopo provincial office
  • East London and Port Elizabeth provincial offices.

Who should we contact if we are experiencing problems with assistive devices and mobility aids?

QASA survey reveals snags in the system

QASA did a survey last year and the results clearly show the dissatisfaction with the claims process. 86% of the respondents are dependent on Workmen’s Compensation for their health and wellness! It was also disappointing to see that 70% of you were unhappy with the service you received from Workmen’s Compensation.

  • Some of the problem areas identified:
  • It is near impossible to make contact with Workers Compensation. No one answers the phone.
  • The paperwork to get payment is a nightmare.
  • It is difficult to find a doctor, pharmacy, physiotherapist or Occupational Therapist who will take Workmen’s Compensation patients.
  • Slow delivery.
  • Claiming for medication takes too long.

To process medical requirements, procedures, and letters and authorize chronic medication takes forever.