Public Protector confirms it is investigating RAF for Maladministration

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa is pleased to confirm that the Public Protector has assigned a senior investigator to investigate the Road Accident Fund (RAF) for maladministration.
On the 17th of March 2017, NUMSA members at the RAF went on strike because of poor wages and to highlight the chaotic working conditions of the organization. The shambolic state of the RAF management is no secret. The agency has been technically insolvent. It is hugely indebted and its poor debt management has had a material impact on its ability to fulfill its basic mandate of paying out claims to road accident victims. As a result the RAF has routinely had its assets seized because it owes creditors.
Our members have often been unable to do their work because basic equipment like phones, desks and computers are attached to settle outstanding debts, making it difficult for them to do the work of assisting members of the public with their claims.
The RAF claims its financial woes are purely as a result of the fact that it is does not receive enough funds from the state. However we believe that the real reason is because of poor management and that is why we want the office of the Public Protector look into the matter to establish the real reasons behind the poor financial management of the agency.
Furthermore, our members are concerned that the RAF may be failing in its legal duty to protect the private and personal information of claimants, in line with the Protection of Personal Information Act. Computers which contain the personal medical and financial information of members of the public are routinely seized and auctioned off to the public.
It is unclear whether RAF has fulfilled its legal duty to ensure that the information contained in those computers does not end up in the wrong hands. The law is clear that the RAF must safeguard the privacy of the public at all cost, and as NUMSA, we want the Public Protector to verify whether in fact the RAF is complying with the legislation in this regard.
RAF is a bully!
The RAF management is aware that NUMSA members are making their lives miserable by demanding accountability, transparency and good governance, something other trade unions failed to do in the past. As a result, the agency has responded by bullying our members and harassing our shop stewards. It has even gone as far as terminating the interim recognition agreement in an attempt to create the illusion that NUMSA does not have majority representation at the agency; it also kicked our shop stewards out of the office to ensure that members at the RAF do not receive any service from the trade union – this is criminal!
The RAF is attempting to terrorize our members into silence. Our members had the courage to confront management about the problems facing the organization. They also alerted the media and now, thanks to their vigilance, the Public Protector is investigating the RAF.
NUMSA will not sit back and allow this kind of coercion to continue. We are warning the RAF that it is on thin ice. We have taken steps through the CCMA to deal with the issue of the recognition agreement. We also call on the minister of Transport to intervene, to ensure that the agency adheres to the basic principles of the Labour law.
NUMSA submitted a memorandum to the Transport department in March and we have yet to get a response from the minister on the allegations relating to mismanagement. Furthermore, we have not ruled out the possibility of further strike action if RAF continues to harass our members.
To our members, we are proud to say that despite the attacks, you remain disciplined and resolute. We are proud of you for fighting a just war. Because of you, employees at RAF will have a better life. Because of you, the nation is aware of the crisis at the RAF and it has even resulted in the intervention of the Public Protector.
We thank you for your vigilance, and your bravery in the face of the victimization you are experiencing at the hands of the employer. Your bravery is an inspiration to all workers in this country.
We salute you!
Aluta Continua!
The struggle continues
Issued by Irvin Jim
General Secretary NUMSA
For interviews contact:
Phakamile Hlubi
Acting NUMSA Spokesperson
083 376 7725