Vuyo Mafata. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Vuyo Mafata. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

IMPROVEMENTS had been made by the Compensation Fund in processing claims but the troubled organisation is not yet out of the woods, MPs were told on Wednesday.

The fund has been in a chaotic financial state for many years, receiving repeated adverse opinions from the auditor general. Claims by injured workers, hospitals and doctors have taken a long time to pay out, resulting in threatened litigation.

Labour Department director general Thobile Lamati gave an update to Parliament’s labour portfolio committee on progress made since the top management of the fund was replaced and Vuyo Mafata appointed as the new commissioner.

Lamati said there had been improvements in dealing with claims since their processing had been automated. The fund was also responding more quickly to the complaints received.

However, the auditor general still had issues with the fund such as the way it accounted for revenue and the capacity in its finance department.

"We are seeking to do the basic things right," Lamati said.

Mafata described the various initiatives underway to strengthen the administration of the fund. The action plan was launched in July last year. Internal controls had improved and a total of R211m — due as far back as 2011 — had been credited back to employer accounts.

"There are ongoing interactions with key medical service providers and industry bodies that represent our clients to address concerns and bottlenecks," Mafata said. "This has yielded positive results in the operations of the fund.

"The fund has started to make significant progress with regards to the processing of claims."

The fund paid out R3.9bn in medical compensation and pension payments in 2015/16 compared with R2bn the previous year.

Mafata said the capacity of the financial management unit had been strengthened.