The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) is outraged that workers are forced to work without proper chairs at the Road Accident Fund. RAF leased chairs as a way to prevent the sheriff from attaching furniture, as was the case in the past. On Tuesday the supplier picked up three hundred chairs because the contract had come to an end. But management seemingly never bothered to extend the lease in time, or to find a replacement supplier.
The impact of this is that some of our members are forced to stand for long hours and do their work without chairs, whilst others are forced to use uncomfortable plastic chairs which are not conducive for working.
In the meantime we have lodged a grievance with the facilities manager at RAF in Menlyn to demand that this situation be resolved immediately. It is shameful that workers are expected to carry on with their duties in an uncomfortable working environment, while management wastes whatever little money it has, relaxing in comfort at a strategic retreat.
Last year NUMSA applied to the Public Protector to investigate RAF for maladministration. The agency has been technically insolvent for a long time. 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. This makes it impossible for our members to do their work because basic equipment like phones, desks and computers, and even chairs are attached to settle outstanding debts
RAF claims its financial woes are because it does not receive enough funds from the state. However we believe that the real reason is because of poor management and possibly corruption. We believe the Public Protector is best suited to investigate the true state of the organization. We have requested a meeting with the officials in her office to get an update on the investigation.
The struggle continues!
Issued by Phakamile Hlubi-Majola
NUMSA National Spokesperson (Acting)