On 15 February 2021, NEASA submitted its written submission on the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act Amendment Bill to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Employment and Labour.
The most contentious of these proposed amendments was the inclusion of section 43(4), which would have effectively prohibited the cession of claims and/or debts of Medical Service Providers (MSPs) or Healthcare Organisations to third-party administrators or financial institutions. In the submission, NEASA clearly highlighted the disastrous effect this amendment would have on all role players in the industry.
NEASA was satisfied when the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Employment and Labour removed the controversial section 43(4) of the COIDA Amendment Bill.
The above-mentioned, apparent ‘victory’ was recently decimated by the Rules of The Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act Amendment Bill (‘the rules’) published by the Compensation Fund in the Government Gazette, on Friday 10 September 2021.
Since the Compensation Fund will no longer be accepting banking details and nominated bank accounts of agents and other representatives, other than MSPs or Healthcare Organisations, these rules effectively amount to the prohibition of cessions.
A further controversial rule dictates that the MSPs and Healthcare Organisations only have two weeks to register and verify their accounts with the Compensation Fund – despite it being common knowledge that these account verifications and registrations usually take at least two months.
Clearly, the rules are in direct contradiction to the COIDA Amendment Bill, as accepted by the Parliamentary Committee on Employment and Labour. Bureaucrats at the Fund, after being overruled by Parliament, simply implemented their original wish of prohibiting cessions, by virtue of these rules.
Therefore, NEASA wrote an open letter to the Compensation Fund Commissioner, requesting the immediate withdrawal of said rules.
To view this letter, please click here.
Rona Bekker is a Senior Policy Advisor at the National Employers’ Association of South Africa (NEASA).