Cape Town - Striking workers from the Road Accident Fund (RAF) will take to the streets on Friday to air their grievances and hand over a memorandum of demands to the Department of Transport in Pretoria, according to the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa).
In a statement issued on Thursday, Numsa claimed that at least 1 500 of its members are on strike at RAF branches countrywide "because the RAF is in turmoil". The RAF's bank account was attached by the sheriff of the court because the organisation is in debt for R8.2bn, said Numsa. It added: "To make matters worse, for months it has been unable to fulfil its mandate and compensate accident victims."
However, RAF CEO Dr Eugene Watson in an earlier statement said the bank account attachment by sheriffs of the court had been lifted and payments to claimants, service providers, stakeholders and caregivers have resumed. "The attachment obstructed payments to the value of approximately R55m to various stakeholders," said Watson.
"The team will work on bringing all payment schedules up to speed and on ensuring that the cash management plan schedules are restored," he said.
Numsa said RAF management is blocking the union’s attempt to fight for a living wage, with the lowest paid workers forced to survive on R5 000 after deductions while executives like Watson earn over R5m per annum.
"Our workers use their expertise every day to service the poor. Their legal and health care expertise ensures that the most vulnerable sectors of our society receive their compensation from the fund. But workers are unable to do their work properly if they are poorly paid, and if the management of the RAF is in shambles," said Numsa.
The RAF has not yet responded to Fin24's emailed questions.