It may seem strange to be discussing annual reports from 2012/13 and 2013/14 but that is exactly what happened when the Portfolio Committee on Health was briefed by the Compensation Commissioner for Occupational Diseases (CCOD) recently.
The delay, and the lack of data which contributed to the inability of the CCOD to produce a complete audited report was put firmly at the feet of the previous Commissioner, before Dr. Barry Kistnasamy was appointed as the Acting Commissioner in 2012. The Commissioner promised Committee Members that everything was back on track and that it would be able to meet the time frame targets by the 2019/2020 financial year.
Reviewing the report of the 2012/13 financial year, the Commissioner explained that the under-expenditure shown in the figures was caused by the unstable management and goods and services. He also explained the various achievements and non-achievements of the CCOD, as well as the numbers of registered claims, finalised claims, paid claims etc.
His presentation was still a long way from reassuring the Committee. Members from the ANC raised issues around the risk management of the Compensation Fund, the potential corruption and fraud incidents, and the discrepancy between planning and actual figures, the unclear accountabilities of the governance roles within the CCOD and the Department of Health. A member of the DA stated that it was meaningless to discuss anything in a report that was so long overdue.
The Commissioner used the second part of his presentation to outline the report of the 2013/14 financial year, showing improvements that had been made since he was in office. He did, however, admit that many aspects still remained the same, a fact that he blamed on the chaotic state in which the CCOD found itself after the departure of the previous Commissioner.
A member from the EFF asked about the recipient of the transactions shown on the slides. Members of the ANC raised concern over the physical well-being of mine workers and the sustainability of environment. They asked if any measures had been put in place to prevent and detect TB among mine workers rather than to cure them