Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: BUSINESS DAY

THE Compensation Fund for Mines and Works’ 2015-16 financial report cannot be submitted within the timeframe laid down by Parliament because of backlogs in the capturing key data, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi told National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete.

He told Mbete in a letter tabled in Parliament on Friday that a file verification exercise of the fund had revealed that about 100,000 claimants had unpaid claims with about 45% of these dating back to 2000. A total of 200,000 files plus an additional 500,000 files within the Medical Bureau for Occupational Diseases had been examined in the exercise.

The financial affairs of the fund have been in serious disarray for a long time but the minister is satisfied that steps are being taken to rectify the situation and ensure that proper annual reports and audited financial statements are available in future.

The other compensation fund operated by the Department of Labour for non-mine workers has also been operationally and financially dysfunctional for many years. Discussions are now under way between the health and labour departments to integrate the two systems in order to provide what Motsoaledi said would be a comprehensive uniform compensation dispensation for all occupational injuries and diseases for all workers.

The minister’s letter to Mbete explained the reasons why the Compensation Fund for Mines and Works’ financial statements could not be submitted to the auditor-general and therefore tabled in time.

He said that the Compensation Commissioner for Occupational Diseases (CCOD) had informed him that submission would not be possible "owing to backlogs in the capturing of the source documents for beneficiary claims, payments to beneficiaries, bank reconciliations with the payments from the Compensation Fund and revenue from controlled mines and works".

However, Motsoaledi said an actuarial evaluation of the fund was being conducted with a report expected in August.

"The audited financial statement of 2010-11 will be used as the base year with corrections based on the valuation report and submitted to the auditor-general together with the 2011-12 financial statement by the 30 September 2016. The auditor-general has begun its audit of the Compensation Fund as of 4 July 2016.

"It is expected that the subsequent annual reports and annual financial statements of the Compensation Fund will be submitted to the auditor-general six-monthly thereafter."

Previous audits of the Compensation Fund for Mines and Works had adverse opinions owing to missing beneficiary files and non-acceptance by the auditor-general of an actuarial valuation of the fund.

Motsoaledi said the compensation commissioner had developed a registry for the beneficiary files. Also, a senior management team had initiated a process to deal with the backlog in the payment of unpaid claims, reconcile levy payments and revenue, and the development of the claimant database.

Other interventions included the tracking and tracing of claimants and the development of decentralised one-stop service centres for the provision of claims administration and benefit medical examinations in the labour sending areas within SA and its neighbouring countries.

"I am convinced that the aforementioned inputs will provide the necessary base for proper annual reports and audited financial statements in due course," the minister said in his letter.