The Kouga Council has been confronted with a shock bill from the Department of Labour – this one dating back ten years and totalling almost R 13-million.
Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen says the outstanding monies were for Return of Earnings (RoEs), required for what is commonly known as “workmen’s compensation” and payable annually by the municipality to the Compensation Commissioner at the Department of Labour
“The Council recently made the shocking discovery that the municipality hadn’t been submitting its Return of Earnings to the Compensation Commissioner since 2007.
“This means that municipal employees have not had proper cover for Injury on Duty claims for the past ten years, putting not only staff but Council at substantial risk.”
She said the municipality owed the Department of Labour a total of R12,619 million, accumulated from 2007 to 2016.
Employers, including municipalities, are required to submit a Return of Earnings form on an annual basis in line with the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, No 130 of 1993 (COIDA).
The Act provides for compensation for disablement caused by occupational injuries or diseases sustained or contracted by employees in the course of their employment, or for death resulting from such injuries or diseases.
“The municipal administration is already in discussion with the Department to arrange for payment of the outstanding amount.
“Our first priority is to ensure that staff are covered, as we are not prepared to gamble with the lives of our employees or the money of our ratepayers.”
The Mayor said an investigation was underway to determine why the municipal administration had failed to disclose the outstanding monies to the new Council following last year’s elections.
Corrective measures will also be put in place so as to prevent a recurrence.