RAF workers protest in Menlo Park

The debt burden of the Road Accident Fund (RAF) sparked a protest in the east of Pretoria on Monday.

Members of the National Union of Metal Workers of SA (Numsa) in the employ of the RAF took to the streets at their headquarters of Menlo Park.

They said the state of the fund had reached a crisis point under the leadership of Dr Eugene Watson.

The institution found itself with a R8 billion debt.

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Numsa acting spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi said the union will picket in support of the RAF workers.

Numsa‘s RAF members had been on strike since last week to highlight the deepening crisis at the fund.

They hit the streets over working conditions and demanded a pay rise.

“Workers are forced to work without basic tools required in processing compensation for the most vulnerable sectors of our society,” said Hlubi.

He claimed poor management was to blame.

Hlubi said RAF was paralysed by mismanagement and incompetence that had seen money draining away.

The union has vowed to approach the office of the Public Protector to probe the developments at the fund

“ We will ask the Protector to investigate whether the fund has violated the protection of personal information act as a consequences of ineptitude of management.”

RAF spokesperson Thandeka Ngwenya conceded the fund was in financial trouble, but claimed that it was making remarkable strides to turn the ship around.

“RAF is and has been insolvent for three decades and has faced serious cash constraints for three years, said Ngwenya.

“The RAF’s financial reality and capacity to increase productivity over the past years while reducing operational costs from four to three percent year-on-year, has been quite remarkable.”

Ngwenya denied that the Numsa picket had an effect on operations.

“Approximately 800 of the 2,600 employees are members of Numsa and a smaller subset of these employees participated in picketing,” he said.

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“The RAF cannot agree to arbitrarily determined salary scales or demands.”

The RAF vowed not to give in to demands by Numsa for a salary review.

“We cannot agree to arbitrarily-determined salary scales or demands. RAF services are in place and operate continuously.” said Ngwenya.

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Ramaupi Makgoo

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