Man wants IOD compensation

2017-12-27 06:00
PHOTO: makhosandile zuluThembinkosi Buthelezi says his former employer failed to compensate him after he was injured on duty.

PHOTO: makhosandile zuluThembinkosi Buthelezi says his former employer failed to compensate him after he was injured on duty.

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THEMBINKOSI Buthelezi from Willowfontein in the KwaKhuzwayo area, says he is seeking justice after he was allegedly not compensated by his former employer for injury on duty.

Buthelezi says he wants to be remunerated fairly by his former employer due to the accident that left him partially disabled and unfit to secure manual labour.

The 49-year-old, who now relies on a walking stick to walk, was an assistant mechanic at a quarry mining company in Willowfontein at the time of his injury in May 2006.

“I was removing a cylinder head from a truck when I slipped and landed on my back,” Buthelezi said.

He hurt his back and claims that for medical assistance­ he only received painkillers and physiotherapy.

That assistance was provided from May 2006 to November 2006 and every time he complained about his back pain on duty he was given painkillers.

Buthelezi said in November, when he could no longer handle heavy duty labour, an X-ray of his lower back was taken to determine the extent of his injuries, and it revealed the injury had left him 40% disabled.

“If they had listened to me when I complained about the pain I would have never ended up like this. They thought I was just being lazy and making excuses to avoid work.”

Buthelezi said from there on he was instructed by the company’s management to take leave, during which time his colleagues were dismissed for strike action that ensued while he was away.

“I was dismissed along with the striking workers even though I was at home healing, and instead of being paid for being injured on duty, I was paid the same money the striking workers received,” he said.

Buthelezi’s woes did not end there as he says after his dismissal his attempts to be justly reimbursed have met a brick wall.

He said he has been from pillar to post, from the Department of Labour, legal aid and his former employer to get compensation.

However, his claim was rejected because medical reports later revealed his spine had been infected with tuberculosis.

“I do not have the resources to get the services of a lawyer. I live with my six children in a mud house that is falling apart,” Buthelezi said.

The phone number of Buthelezi’s former employer would not go through, so comment from them could not be obtained.

The chief directorate of communications at the KZN Department of Labour, Lungelo Mkamba, confirmed that Buthelezi lodged a claim with the Compensation Fund after his injury.

“However, the medical officer recommended that his claim be accepted as a ‘soft tissue injury’ of the lower back. The medical officer concluded that the TB of the spine was not related to the incident where he was injured at work and therefore, Mr Buthelezi did not qualify for permanent disablement compensation,” Mkamba said.

He said Buthelezi did, however, qualify for total temporary disablement and was paid a certain amount by the Compensation Fund in 2008.

Mkamba said if Buthelezi is unhappy with the decision he must contact or visit one of the department’s labour centres.

“[There he can] collect his no permanent disablement letter and lodge an objection of the decision,” Mkamba said.

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