The South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO), representing over 1m members from poor and disadvantaged communities across South Africa, is calling for the urgent removal of Section 43 of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases (COID) Amendment Bill, as it will undermine the right to equal quality healthcare for vulnerable workers and domestic workers, who have for the first time been included as beneficiaries of the Compensation Fund.
Section 43 of the Bill seeks to remove the cession of claims by medical service providers to financial institutions or third-party administrators. The medical fraternity is also gravely concerned about this section, as it would mean they would have to engage directly with a dysfunctional Compensation Fund that takes up to two years to pay claims. Healthcare providers say this will have a significantly negative impact on their ability to sustain their practices and force doctors, hospitals and other medical professionals to close their doors to treating injured workers.
SANCO has written to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Employment and Labour, who has called for submissions on the amendments to the Act, saying that Section 43 is contrary to the intention of the COID Act, which is to provide equal and quality care to workers injured on duty.
Abram Mashishi, SANCO Greater Tshwane chairperson, says: “SANCO welcomes the inclusion of domestic workers under the new COID Bill. This is a hard-fought for victory that was achieved at the Constitutional Court. We are, however, deeply concerned that Section 43 will undermine these newly-won rights for domestic workers and many other people in poor communities.
“We see no reason for Section 43 to be included in the Bill and see no benefit to our members, to workers and to civil society more broadly. We do, however, fear that it may result in an added burden on medical care-givers, especially those operating in poor and disadvantaged communities, which will result in them opting not to treat injured workers, including domestic workers. We are also concerned that this move will place unnecessary strain on a public health system, and deny workers their right to equal, quality medical treatment.
“We therefore call for Section 43 to be urgently removed from the Amendment Bill,” concludes Mashishi.
Issued by SANCO