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This page keeps you up to date with what's happening at RMA. If you are a Class IV or Class XIII employer; stay up to date with the latest news and events.

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We hope that you and your loved ones have been keeping safe and well over the past weeks. The COVID 19 pandemic is evolving and further affecting the lives and livelihoods of thousands of people and families locally and globally. In response to the impact of the pandemic, RMA has adapted its systems, processes and operations to ensure uninterrupted service to you as our customer.

It is that time of the year again when we determine your rates and premiums for the following year (2021). To ensure that we provide you with the most precise rates and premiums for next year, we would like to request that you provide us with the following: 

  • • Budgeted (estimated) earnings 
  • • Staff projections for 2021 

The estimated earnings required are for all staff (permanent and temporary staff including management and working directors) within your organization. The deadline for submission is 30 June 2020.

Declaration of earnings.

Earnings provided will be used to determine your premium for the following year. It is therefore important that you provide us with the most accurate earnings and staff numbers. This will assist us in ensuring that we continue to deliver optimal customer service to you and your employees as they enjoy ongoing cover against occupational injuries and diseases and related insurance benefits.

How to submit earnings. 

Earnings declared must be for the period of 1 January– 31 December 2021. 

What happens if Earnings are not submitted? 

In the unfortunate event that we do not receive your submission, we would apply an above inflation factor on the previously submitted Return on Earnings (ROE) to obtain your current estimated earnings, in line with the provisions of section (83)(6) of the Compensation for Occupational Diseases Act, 130 of 1993 as amended. This may also result in penalties being applied on your account. We therefore would like to encourage you to submit your estimated Return on Earnings for 2021 timeously. 

We would like to thank you in advance for your participation during these challenging times, in meeting the deadlines as we work together to ensure accurate and fair assessments. For any enquiries, you may contact us on 0860 222 132 or email clientcare@randmutual.co.za. 

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In January 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of a new coronavirus disease in Hubei Province, China to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. WHO stated there is a high risk of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spreading to other countries around the world.

WHO and public health authorities around the world are taking action to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. However, long term success cannot be taken for granted. All sections of our society – including businesses and employers – must play a role if we are to stop the spread of this disease.

How COVID-19 spreads

When someone who has COVID-19 coughs or exhales they release droplets of infected fluid. Most of these droplets fall on nearby surfaces and objects - such as desks, tables or telephones. People could catch COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces or objects – and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

If they are standing within one meter of a person with COVID-19 they can catch it by breathing in droplets coughed out or exhaled by them. In other words, COVID-19 spreads in a similar way to flu.

Most persons infected with COVID-19 experience mild symptoms and recover. However, some go on to experience more serious illness and may require hospital care. Risk of serious illness rises with age: people over 40 seem to be more vulnerable than those under 40.

People with weakened immune systems and people with conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease are also more vulnerable to serious illness.

How to stay informed

For all official information and updates regarding COVID-19 please visit the South African Department of Health’s website

Find the latest information from WHO on where COVID-19 is spreading

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The manner of calculating earnings for purposes of compensation purposes is governed by sections 51 and 63 of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA), 130 of 1993, as amended.  These sections of the Act require that employers accurately report earnings of the employee to ensure that benefits payable under the Act are fair and equitable. 

We have included guidelines on the reporting of employee earnings following an insured event under the COID Act, ensuring that employers report employee earnings correctly for compensation purposes in the same manner as they have declared earnings for assessment purposes. 

Calculating Earnings for Compensation Purposes

Section 63 (1)

In order to determine compensation, the Director General shall calculate the earnings of an employee in such manner as in his opinion is best to determine the monthly rate at which the employee was being remunerated by his employer at the time of the accident, including:

  1. The value of any food or quarters supplied by the employer at the time of the accident;

       or,

  1. Any overtime payment or other special renumeration in cash or in kind of a regular nature or for work ordinarily performed, excluding
  1. Payment for intermittent overtime;
  2. Payment for non-recurrent occasional services;
  3. Amounts paid by an employer to an employee to cover any special expenses;
  4. Ex-gratia payments whether by the employer or any other person.

Section 63 (2)

If an employee’s renumeration is determined in accordance with a rate calculated upon work performed, his earnings shall be determined to be his remuneration for similar work upon the same conditions of remuneration for as long a period as possible prior to the accident but not exceeding 12 months. 

In this case RMA will use a period of 6 months prior to the accident since this is favourable to the employee.

Section 63 (4)

If an employee has entered into contracts of service with two or more employers and has in terms of those contracts worked at one time for one employer and at another time for another employer, his earnings shall be calculated as if his earnings under all such contracts were earnings in the employment of the employer for whom he was working at the time of the accident.

Section 63 (6)

This section shall not be construed as prohibiting the calculation of earnings on a weekly basis, but where earnings are so calculated the monthly earnings shall be calculated as equal to four and one-third times the amount of such weekly earnings.

  • If an accident occurs prior to pay day, then the 6-month period used for the calculation of earnings for compensation purposes starts from the date of the last pay received in the previous month and ends on the sixth month when pay was received.
  • If an accident occurs post pay day, then the 6-month period used for the calculation of earnings for compensation purposes starts from the same month of the accident and ends on the sixth month when pay was received.

Non-Variable Earnings:

Non-variable earnings are the employee’s basic rate of pay, i.e. Basic Salary, Housing Allowance, and Annual Bonus/Incentive Bonus.  Where applicable, the Annual Bonus and/or Incentive Bonus must be divided by the number of months for which it is payable.  For example, if it is paid annually then it must be divided by 12 (twelve), and in instances where it is paid every six months then it must be divided by 6 (six) and similarly if it is paid quarterly, then it must be divided by 3 (three).

Where an employee’s basic salary has increased, or any other non-variable allowance has increased in the 6 months prior to the date of the accident or disease diagnosis then the new basic rate of pay must be reported.

Variable Earnings:

Variable Earnings are made up of the cumulative amounts the employee has received in the form of allowances during the past 6 (six) months prior to the date of an accident and/or date of diagnosis of the disease.  An example of variable earnings includes overtime or production bonus, as such, should be included as part of gross earnings in the premium return.  For the purposes of calculating compensation benefits, the average variable earnings for the employee during the previous 6 months should be reported.

If an employee has for the past 6 months received an allowance for some or all the months that specific allowance must be included in the earnings reported.

Section 51

Compensation for Permanent Disablement of Employees in Training or under 26 Years of Age

Section 51(1)

If as a result of an accident an employee sustains permanent disablement and at the time of the accident:

  1. was an apprentice or in the process of being trained in any trade, occupation or profession; or
  2. was under 26 years of age, the commissioner shall determine the earnings of such employee in accordance with sub-section (2) for the purpose of the calculation of compensation in terms of section 49.

Section 51(2) –

  1. In the case of an employee referred to in sub-section (1) (a), his earnings shall be calculated on the basis of the earnings to which a recently qualified person or a person in the same occupation, trade, or profession with five years more experience than the employee would have been at the time of the accident, whichever calculation is more favourable to the employee.
  2. In the case of an employee referred to in sub-section (1) (b), his earnings shall be calculated on the basis of the earnings to which a person of 26 years of age would normally have been entitled if at the time of the accident he had been performing the same work as the employee or a person in the same occupation, trade or profession with five years more experience than the employee, whichever, calculation is more favourable to the employee.

If the injured employee is a trainee and/or apprentice, the employer must submit the earnings of a recently qualified person and also the earnings of another employee in the same occupation, trade or profession with five years more experience. 

If the injured employee is under the age of 26 years at the time of the accident, the employer must submit the earnings of another employee who is older than 26 who performs the same work as the injured employee and also submit the earnings of another employee in the same occupation, trade or profession with five years more experience.

In effect two (2) sets of earnings are required in addition to the earnings submitted for the injured employee. The compensation payable will be calculated on the more favourable earnings, be it the earnings of:

  1. A recently qualified person;
  2. A person 26 years of age performing the same work as the injured employee; or
  3. An employee in the same occupation, trade or profession with five years more experience.

To ensure compliance with this circular, RMA has developed section 51 templates for trainee apprentices and for employees under the age of 26 years respectively. These templates are attached to this circular.

Accurate reporting of Earnings for compensation purposes

RMA recognizes that allowances that form part of the employee’s remuneration vary from one company to the next, but for the purposes of this Circular, the types of allowances will not be specified as the list is not exhaustive.  Employers are therefore urged to declare accurately and in full the employee’s earnings as contemplated in section 63 of COIDA.

The onus lies with the employer to ensure that the information declared to RMA does not prejudice the employee in any form. To achieve this Employers must ensure that earnings declared in accordance with Section 82 of COIDA, that is, for assessment purposes in the form of Return of Earnings (ROE) are the same earnings that are reported for compensation purposes when the insured event  (a claim) under the COID Act is reported to RMA.

Thus, if overtime and any other allowances have been reported for compensation purposes following submission of a claim, the same allowances should have been declared for ROE purposes in accordance with Section 82 of COIDA.

To ensure that Employers accurately declare earnings in accordance with Section 82 of COIDA, RMA conducts from time to time employer payroll audits amongst others to ensure that earnings reported for claims purposes align with earnings declared by Employers in their annual returns of earnings.

To ensure that employees and/or their beneficiaries are not prejudiced by incorrect reporting of earnings when claims are submitted by Employers, RMA has put disclaimers on both the Claim and Statement of Earnings (SOE) forms. The disclaimer reads “Declaration by Employer: I hereby declare that the employee’s earnings and banking details, at the time of the accident, are as stated above, and that I am authorised to make this declaration. Should the employee suffer any financial loss due to the incorrect declaration of earnings and/or banking details, such loss(es) will be recoverable from the employer.”

Where an employer is found to have under declared earnings in terms of Section 82, and based on our analysis, such an employer will be subjected to a full payroll Audit by the Membership Department. Where there is a need for adjustment of declared earnings, this will be done to the current declarations and where necessary retrospectively.

Online Statement of Earnings

With effect from 1st May 2020, claims will be adjudicated based on the earnings submitted via

  1. C-Filing wherein employers complete and sign off the earnings declaration online
  2. Earnings submitted via Payslips, Salary Advices or Payroll printouts for a claim submitted via C-Filing will not be accepted unless under exceptional cases: Submission of payslips will only be accepted if requested by RMA.
  3. For example, the Employer is no longer in existence and/or the Employee is the one reporting the injury on duty incident
  4. Likewise, this applies when the Employer is refusing to report the incident on behalf of the Employee.

Effective date

This will take effect from the 1st May 2020. Therefore, all accident and disease claims must, from that date onwards, be reported in the manner described above, be it earnings in terms of the provisions of Section 63 (Manner of Calculating Earnings) or in terms of the provision of Section 51 (Compensation for Permanent Disablement of Employees in Training or Under 26 years of age).

General

This Circular replaces the previous circulars on Declaration of Earnings. The provisions of this circular are applicable to RMA’s other non-statutory products, namely, the Commuting Journey’s Policy and the Augmentation policies.

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We understand that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to business interruptions, countrywide. During this period, RMA continues to render assessment and claims processing services in line with our commitment and your expectations. As a result, we are extending our deadline for submissions of Return of Earnings (ROE) even further, from 31 March 2020 to 31 May 2020 to accommodate any business interruptions you may have experienced over this period. 

Extending the deadline ensures that your employees continue to enjoy cover against occupational injuries and diseases while on duty.

During this extension:

  • • We will be extending the expiry date of Letters of Good Standing from 31 March 2020 to 31 May 2020. LOGS will be issued manually (with no certificate number) and sent via email, upon your request. 
  • • Penalties for late submission will not be applied until 01 June 2020. 

We have included in this correspondence, our response to the notice issued by the Compensation Fund regarding guidelines to deal with COVID-19 arising from occupational exposure within the context of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Disease Act 130 of 1993. Please take time to familiarise yourself with the claim’s process outlined and benefits associated with all COVID-19 claims.

Simplified process for your online policy renewal 

Use our hassle-free online service to process your 2020 policy renewal. 

Submit your employees’ earnings (actuals for 2019 and estimates for 2020) before 31 May 2020: 

If you have not yet registered on our online portal, you can simply register at www.randmutual.co.za under the Online Services tab and enjoy the convenience.

Declaration of Earnings 

To ensure that you remain in good standing, the deadline for submission of earnings is 31 May 2020

You need to declare your 2019 actual earnings for the period of 1 March 2019 – 28 February 2020, and the 2020 estimated earnings for the period of 1 March 2020 – 28 February 2021

Also note that if there is a variance between the current and previous submissions, your account may be audited, and you will be required to provide documents to support the variance. We will contact you if this happens. Your earnings will have to be reviewed and approved and this may delay your invoice(s) and Letter of Good Standing (LOG) for 2020.

Premium Payment 

The benefits for paying your premium on time is that you will receive your annual LOGS timeously. 

All payments for outstanding premium balances are due 30 days from the invoice date.

Interest will be charged on any overdue accounts in line with section 86(2) of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA), 130 of 1993. 

For any payment related enquiries, you may contact us on 0860 222 132 or email collections1@randmutual.co.za 

What happens if you miss the 31 May 2020 deadline? 

You will be issued with an Invoice that: - 

  • • is based on your last submission plus a 5% adjustment for inflation 
  • • has a 10% penalty applied to your assessment rate due to non-compliance with the provisions of the COID Act

You can still submit your earnings after the 31 May 2020 using the online portal and receive an adjustment invoice based on your budgeted earnings for the 2020 policy year. 

For any enquiries, you may contact us on 0860 222 132 or email clientcare@randmutual.co.za.

We look forward to providing you with efficient and personal service, and we hope you will continue to enjoy a long and satisfying relationship with us.

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I am pleased to announce that we have appointed Mandla Shezi as RMA’s new Chief Executive Officer. Mandla will take over from Jay Singh, who is retiring from RMA at the end of June 2020. Mandla will be CEO designate from the 1st of February 2020 and fully assume office as CEO on the 1st of July 2020. Both Jay and Mandla will work closely, hand in hand to ensure a smooth transition during this period. 

In line with our business policies, the recruitment process included appointing an interview panel comprising of members of the Nominations Committee, Remuneration Committee and Shareholder representatives, to ensure a thorough and successful interview process for a potential successor. After a rigorous search process, I am delighted that Mandla Shezi has agreed to join RMA.

Mandla Shezi joins us from Hollard where he held the position of CEO - Hollard International and was previously Managing Director of Hollard Affinities and Direct for 12 years. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Cape Town and a Bachelor of Science Degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

He is an engineer turned businessman. He studied chemical engineering and worked as a process engineer and an economist early on in his career. His passion for business management and decision-making inspired him to move from engineering to business management where he worked as a management consultant at Bain and Company from 2000 to 2002. He moved to SAB as an executive assistant to the CEO where he was responsible for strategic projects across the group and was also manufacturing manager for two of SAB’s plant operations.

In 2007, he joined Hollard as MD and led different divisions for the group. He has both long term and short-term insurance experience and has been MD of a division at Hollard that was focused on SA for 12 years and led a division that had Africa and Asia focus with country CEOs reporting to him.

In this position, Mandla will provide strategic and managerial leadership in partnership with the RMA Executive Team to help execute the company’s strategy. His wealth of experience in the Insurance and Financial Services arena will contribute to the growth strategy of our Non-COID business and his extensive knowledge of emerging markets into the rest of Africa will drive our new Africa Growth strategy. His vast experience in stakeholder management with multiple strategic partners will be beneficial to driving our growth strategy and in utilising our state-of-the-art IT software.

Mandla has excellent business experience and the drive to work with all of us to take RMA to the next level of growth and development. I am personally very pleased that we have been able to attract someone of his calibre, track record and further potential. He is a strong, dynamic and values-driven leader with an impressive track record of delivering consistent high-quality performance.

On behalf of the Board and the Shareholders, I look forward to working with him and the RMA Executive Team over the next few years to continue the exceptional growth of our business.

Regards
Thabo Dloti 
RMA Board Chairperson
 

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We are delighted to inform you that we will be moving to our new home in July 2020 which is based at building number 10, St Andrews Road, Parktown.

In 2018, our management focused on motivating and empowering our staff coupled with the development and modernisation of our systems to ensure that we have the capabilities to deliver on our existing and future strategies.

People are the core of what makes us successful, as part of our efforts to continue enhancing our capabilities to deliver on our strategy, we decided to acquire a building that will house all head office staff into one building. This decision is a move towards increasing collaboration, improving operations and staff relationships.

We believe that the new office space will offer us an opportunity to work closely together in pursuit of reaching our strategic goals. We are confident that this move will positively affect our staff and improve service delivery to our clients, enabling us to:

  • Foster creativity and collaboration across RMA departments
  • Save on costs by joining two RMA offices into one
  • Increase client centricity and service
  • Create a sense of one RMA

This is a great milestone in our growth journey which we wouldn’t have achieved without your valuable support.

We look forward to sharing the exciting upcoming developments that will ensure that we increase on delivering Caring, Compassionate Compensation to all our stakeholders.

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It is a great pleasure to announce the successful implementation of the share acquisition transaction concluded in March 2018 between Rand Mutual Holdings and African Rainbow Capital (ARC) following on approval by the Prudential Authority


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We are delighted that the Minister of Labour has extended our licence to administer COID to December 2022. This demonstrates confidence in our capabilities as SA’s leading COID administrator. We will continue to deliver quality and compassionate service of the highest standard to clients.

Read more here

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The Board of RMA, a company ranked in the top 10 short-term insurance providers in South Africa, is pleased to announce the appointment of experienced financial services specialist, Thabo Dloti, as an independent non-executive director and as the chairman.

Having spent his career in a number of senior executive and board positions at Old Mutual and Liberty, 49-year- old Dloti has a proud and extensive track record in the financial services industry. Before joining the RMA Board, Dloti was CEO of the Liberty Group and Stanlib, and Group Chief Executive at Old Mutual Investment Group SA.

Over the coming months, Dloti will be stepping into the shoes of retiring chairman, Dr Vincent Maphai, who has led the Board of RMA for over 11 years

RMA is a 123-year- old company and is licenced by the Department of Labour to underwrite and administer workers’ compensation benefits for the mining, iron, metal and steel industries in South Africa. It is rated among the top 10 short-term insurers in South Africa, and last year was listed as the fastest growing mutual insurer in the world in 2015 according to The Global 500 Report compiled by the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF).

“RMA is at an interesting juncture in its growth path and we are therefore delighted to have Dloti joining us at helm of the RMA Board and look forward to the fresh skills, expertise and vision that he brings. I have no doubt that we can expect to continue to flourish under his guidance and direction,” says RMA CEO, Jay Singh.

“His passion for developing people through education, and sponsorship of various education upliftment and mentorship initiatives demonstrates his good fit with our company values and our ongoing commitment to Caring, Compassionate, Compensation,” concludes Singh.

Commenting on his appointment to the RMA Board, Dloti said he sees much promise in RMA and believes it can play an even bigger role within the worker’s compensation space, and in the insurance sector as a whole.

“RMA is a company that has already proven its commitment to being a leader in workmen’s compensation in South Africa, and I believe there is an opportunity for penetration into the continent and emerging markets, and to better position it within the insurance industry in SA,” says Dloti.

“This is an exciting time to be joining the RMA Board and I look forward to making an important contribution to the company and its future growth.”

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Monday, 4 December 2017, Children attending the Mankaba Crèche near Burgersfort in Limpopo can look forward to a more comfortable learning environment and a brighter future since a truck carrying a 12m x3m parkhome rolled up to deliver their new school recently.

“We are delighted that we are able to help make a difference in these children’s lives through this donation to a crèche, which is run by Mr Matala Landros Mankaba, who is an exceptionally proactive and community-minded man,” says Nomfundo Metula, General Manager: Sales and Marketing at Rand Mutual (RMA).

Mr Mankaba, who has been on a 100% disability pension from RMA since suffering a disabling mining accident in 1994, identified the need to start the first crèche in the Burgersfort informal settlement some years ago, as there was no such resource available for the local children. He and his wife, who teaches at the crèche, have been doing their best for the children with meagre resources, mostly off his disability pension.

“A few months ago, Mr Mankaba contacted us seeking assistance from our social fund, which was established to help uplift the socioeconomic circumstances of the more impoverished communities where our beneficiaries live. He requested assistance in the form of chairs and tables for the crèche, and we asked him to send some photos of the facility so that we could better understand their needs,” Metula relates.

The photos revealed that the crèche did not have sufficient shelter for the approximately 30 children it serves, and RMA was moved to intervene as part of its corporate social investment activities. The crèche provides school-readiness education and meals to children from the community.

“Education, particularly early childhood development, is very important to us as we believe that a solid learning foundation through interventions such as Mr Mankaba’s crèche have the potential to make a lasting difference to the future of the individual children through better school success. This ultimately also has an impact on the community. We therefore decided to donate the parkhome to provide shelter and a more conducive learning environment for the children,” Metula explains.

Mr Mankaba’s former employer, Bokoni Platinum, also made donations to the crèche, including the tables and chairs he had initially requested.

“When the children caught sight of their new bright crèche, they were so excited and their faces lit up with joy. We hope that this gesture will help to light up their futures by assisting the teachers to unlock each child’s potential.

“This is truly an instance of caring, compassionate compensation in action as Mr Mankaba is making a real contribution in his community and brought this opportunity for doing social good to our attention. Mr Mankaba is proof that a disability does not need to hold you back and he remains an inspiration to us all. Not only has he transcended living with a disability, but he has used the pension that he gets paid from us to for the greater good and for this he must be applauded,” she adds.

“We wish Mr Mankaba, the teachers and children of the crèche all the very best for the future. We commend Mr Mankaba for the leadership he has shown in developing this resource for the children and his resourcefulness in making the most of what was available to make a difference in their lives – he is a hero to these children and an example to us all,” Metula concluded.

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At a very young age Ubuko Mpotulo had to have his legs amputated following health complications, but this bright little fellow has never let this hold him back.

“A few months ago, Ubuko came to RMA’s attention when his grade one teacher, Janey Stevens of College Street Primary School in East London, sent out a heartfelt plea for sponsorship of prosthetic legs for this young man,” says Nomfundo Mcilongo, General Manager: Sales & Marketing at RMA.

“His teacher informed us that Ubuko runs, jumps, hops, skips and swims with his classmates, refusing to let his physical limitations hold him back from living life to the fullest. He is an inspiration to us all.

“Ubuko has been using basic prosthetic limbs to enable him to be mobile. This high-spirited little boy made the best of his existing prosthesis, but most certainly fitting prosthetic limbs more appropriate to his activity level will enable him to participate in physical activities with his friends.

“Today, it gives us great pleasure to provide Ubuko with a pair of new prosthetic legs, specially built for him by RMA’s prosthetics partner, Marissa Nel & Associates. His new ‘legs’, fitted with Vari-Flex Junior feet, provide an exclusive combination of comfort and dynamics. They are specially made for children who require the additional energy response.

“The prosthetic feet ensure the highest levels of user confidence and security, promoting a natural gait with less fatigue and strain on the lower back. The Total Knee Junior from Össur is a smaller version of the adult model, which offers security, natural motion and walking ease. The Total Knee Junior is extremely versatile and natural for children who have a broad range of very high-level activities: walking, running, sitting, squatting, and kneeling activities,” Mcilongo adds.

The prosthetic legs were presented to Ubuko by none other than South African Paralympic medallist Ernst van Dyk during a special ceremony at the East London Health Resource Centre.

RMA provides medical treatment and compensation for workers injured in the mining and iron, metal and steel industries in accordance with the terms of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA).

The initiative to help Ubuko is in keeping RMA presents new high-tech ‘legs’ to sporty Ubuko with RMA’s ethos of compassionate care.

“We don’t want anything to stand in Ubuko’s way of being the best he can possibly be. We believe that his positive attitude and determination will take him far in life, and it is our privilege to be able to sponsor his prosthetics from RMA. As a company that is both caring and compassionate, RMA believes in giving hope to people. Anybody can be a winner, no matter what obstacles they have had to overcome – so is the triumph of the human spirit, that anything is possible,” says Mcilongo.

Mcilongo explains that prosthetic limbs require maintenance from time to time, and that certain parts will eventually wear out. “Particularly for a growing boy like Ubuko, the prosthetic legs will need to be adjusted so that they can ‘grow’ with him. As a team, we are committed to ensuring that Ubuko’s prosthetics needs are taken care of well into the future so that he and his family need not worry about incurring the costs associated with the upkeep of his ‘new, high-tech legs’.

“With the encouragement of his family, school, Marissa Nel & Associates, the Eastern Cape Department of Health, Ernst and all of us at RMA, we are in no doubt that Ubuko can accomplish whatever he sets his heart on.

“We hope he will be inspired by Ernst to pursue sport professionally, as he has certainly demonstrated a passion and talent for sport.

“No matter what path Ubuko chooses with his new ‘legs’, we are confident that he will go on to make a significant contribution to this country and will continue to be an inspiration to all who know him,” Mcilongo concluded.

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Disability affects individuals’ lives in many profound ways, and the personal journey in dealing with the consequences of physical injury is unique to each individual. The emotional and practical challenges that sudden disability presents are equally complex and singular. Rand Mutual Assurance (RMA) understands these challenges and has thus adopted a culture of caring, compassionate compensation when assisting injured workers.

“Southern Africa is a vast geographical area, and mining and heavy industry in this country attract workers from far and wide. When people suffer life-changing disability, they frequently opt to return to their families for the support that their loved ones provide,” says Dr Deodat Kritzinger, General Manager: Medical of RMA.

“Outside of the major cities, however, there are often not sufficient services and facilities to meet a disabled person’s particular needs. Mobility and transport, as well as access to the necessary specialist healthcare, may pose particular difficulties. RMA has thus taken it as part of its responsibility to lessen such burdens and ensure the lives under its care receive the support they need. We have therefore developed a range of services to provide meaningful assistance to beneficiaries, as part of our commitment to deliver caring, compassionate compensation.”

In the 122 years since RMA was founded to administer workers’ compensation, advances in health and safety regulations and industry-driven initiatives have made significant inroads in the prevention of occupational injuries. In heavy industry, however, accidents do still occur from time to time, and it is RMA’s role to provide ongoing medical treatment and compensation in accordance with the terms of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA).

“As part of this responsibility, we have established a network of local preferred healthcare providers near our beneficiaries. If a disabled RMA pensioner needs to travel long distances to access healthcare, we offer assistance with their transport, both to and from the health facilities, to help make the process more convenient for them,” Dr Kritzinger adds.

“Maximising the mobility of individuals with disabilities is an important aspect of supporting their independence. For this reason, RMA partners with prosthetics and orthotics specialists to provide these devices, as well as their sustained annual maintenance and replacement, when necessary.”

The RMA mobile prosthetic clinic travels each year to bring these services to its beneficiaries, visiting rural areas to bring its special brand of care to claimants who live far away from cities where such services are more readily available. Apart from its South African service offerings, the RMA mobile clinic recently completed its 11th consecutive annual expedition to Malawi and is due to visit Lesotho again shortly.

“We have got to know our beneficiaries well over the years, and we are also aware of the socioeconomic circumstances under which some of these communities live. In some cases, the RMA social fund has assisted in establishing food gardens and helped with house renovations in our quest to improve the lot of beneficiaries and their families,” he adds.

Certain RMA beneficiaries’ families cannot offer the level of care they require, and these individuals are provided for at the Rand Mutual Care Facility in Welkom, in the Free State. The state-of-the-art facility, which was officially opened by Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant in April, provides full-time custodial care for 16 residents at present, as well as a range of services, including pressure sore management, rehabilitation and pro-active health interventions, to other beneficiaries of RMA-administered compensation in terms of COIDA.

“Our own centrally-located Rand Mutual Care Facility has allowed us to ensure that our pensioners receive the highest standard of care, in a custom-built medical and rehabilitation unit that has been designed and developed to be as inclusive and enabling an environment as possible,” Dr Kritzinger observes.

“In RMA’s considerable experience, it is not only the pensioners’ physical health, but also how they feel and interact with others that contributes to a sense of wellbeing. There are frequent visits from family, friends and community, as well as great friendships between the 16 men living here and the staff. Residents enjoy outings, games and sporting events.

“This helps to dissolve the walls of the facility, as it is very important that residents feel meaningfully included in society. This is a significant aspect of the kind of rehabilitation we want to offer beneficiaries,” Dr Kritzinger asserts.

“The RMA Mobile Clinic and Rand Mutual Care Facility are just two of the initiatives we have developed as part of a spectrum of services to support claimants. The care we strive to provide is multi-dimensional and personalised to the individual’s particular circumstances and stage of recovery.

“We have found that embracing a diverse approach to care, with the help of our partners, lends a more intuitive level of support and commitment in our mission of assisting people living with life-changing injuries. The dignity of the individual is central to our ethos of caring, compassionate compensation,” Dr Kritzinger concluded.

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Residents of Rand Mutual Care Facility recently had a fun-filled day of healthy activity when they competed in the wheelchair event of the Welkom Eskom Athletics Club Road Race 2016.

“Congratulations to all our beneficiaries who took part in the 1.5km wheelchair road race. This race presented an enjoyable opportunity for getting fresh air and exercise, as well as stimulating healthy competition,” says Dr Deodat Kritzinger, General Manager: Medical at Rand Mutual Assurance.

“One of the residents of our Rand Mutual Care Facility, Mr Mofammere Moreki, won a trophy for coming second in the race. We are exceptionally proud of his achievement, and of everyone who took part in the event.

“Other racers in Team RMA were Mr Gxumayo Mzwandile, Mr Makhahleni Mzimeni, Mr William Sitsheke, Mr Tshepang Mafa, Mr Thabo Kibi and Mr Nkumande Zamekile, and all of them finished within the time limit. Congratulations to all of them,” he said.

The Rand Mutual Care Facility, which was officially launched in Welkom in April, provides custodial care for individuals who have suffered life-changing accidents and are beneficiaries of RMA-administered compensation in terms of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA).

“Apart from providing day-to-day care for the 16 full-time residents, we also aim to provide rehabilitation; not only physical rehabilitation as they grow stronger from the physical injuries they sustained, but in terms of the psychosocial aspects of rehabilitation,” Dr Kritzinger explains.

“A large part of this process involves overcoming the effects that sudden disability can have on self-perception. When many of these men were first coming to terms with the injuries they suffered, they may not have imagined that they would be able to compete in a race ever again.

“The opportunity of taking part in a race such as the Eskom Athletics Club Road Race highlights the abilities of participants, and confirms that they are all winners in their own right. Team RMA have proved that they are champions, and their spirit of sportsmanship proves that they are worthy ambassadors for RMA,” Dr Kritzinger concluded.

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A workshop bringing together experts in rehabilitative care for people with physical disabilities, hosted by Rand Mutual (RMA) on Tuesday, culminated in Paralympic medallist Ernst van Dyk presenting four individuals with advanced prosthetics, designed to improve mobility.

“We are honoured to host Icelandic prosthetist orthotist, Professor Anton Johannesson, who shared some of his considerable knowledge with our delegates. We are certain that the techniques and ideas presented here will have far-reaching benefits in terms of extending improved quality of life to many individuals, for years to come,” says Dr Deodat Kritzinger, General Manager: Medical at RMA.

The rehabilitation workshop, held during National Disability Rights Awareness Month, was hosted at the Rand Mutual Care Facility. The state-of-the-art facility, which opened in Welkom in April, provides full-time custodial care for 16 residents at present, as well as a range of services, including pressure sore management, rehabilitation and pro-active health interventions, to other beneficiaries of RMA-administered compensation in terms of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA).

“Prof Johannesson is clinical manager of prosthetics at Össur Nordic, a division of leading orthopaedics equipment manufacturer Össur. We are delighted that he is passing on some of the advanced techniques he has helped to develop to RMA’S prosthetics partner Marissa Nel & Associates, as well as to our other esteemed delegates,” Dr Kritzinger adds.

“These techniques, emphasising rehabilitation immediately post-amputation, hold considerable promise in getting patients mobile more quickly post-amputation. This presents psychological benefits for the individual, as well as for their physical health as the likelihood of developing certain co-morbidities that often arise after amputation are also meaningfully diminished.

“This is also good news in terms of healthcare savings, as it reduces the physical burden on care givers and the need for further support services. A prosthetic limb can now be manufactured within an hour – saving time and thereby saving money – so that funding for people with disabilities can go further, benefiting more individuals,” he explains.

The workshop also provided an opportunity for Rand Mutual Care Facility’s new skills development programme to be presented for discussion. “The development of this facility meant that we were better able to cater for the physical care and rehabilitation of our COIDA beneficiaries, and now we are able to offer them training towards reintegration into economic activity,” Dr Kritzinger notes.

“This speaks to RMA’s commitment to holistic rehabilitation; not only physical rehabilitation as they grow stronger from the physical injuries sustained, but also in terms of the psycho-social aspects of recovery. A large part of this process is overcoming the effects that sudden disability can have on self-perception. Our residents were previously employed in jobs that were very physical in nature, and often they identify themselves in terms of those physical capabilities that have changed since their accidents.

“This skills development programme aims to show beneficiaries new aspects of their capabilities through acquiring new skills. Not only will the residents be taught new competencies that they might never otherwise have achieved, it is hoped that they will also see themselves in a new light.

“Some of the training projects we are introducing at the Rand Mutual Care Facility for the benefit of our residents are business skills development and learning to build prosthetics. These projects hold promising potential for the upskilling of residents,” he adds.

“Such training can set residents, particularly those who are younger, on a new career path, enabling them to fully integrate back into the working world in a new capacity. We also envisage that, in time, opportunities such as these could lay the groundwork for future entrepreneurial prospects. Proactive rehabilitation in terms of skills development will have manifold benefits for the individuals and also, potentially, the socio-economic circumstances of their families and wider communities,” he says.

“Through empowering Rand Mutual Care Facility residents by helping them to overcome physical limitations, it is hoped that their successes will serve as inspiration to others in similar circumstances and provide them with hope when they need it most.”

Prostheses made and fitted using the techniques demonstrated by Prof Johannesson will be presented to four people at the close of the workshop. One of the four is RMA beneficiary Willem Bekker, who sustained an occupational injury to his ankle in 2010 and, in spite of a series of operations, his left leg had to be amputated below the knee in 2013.

“I had to allow some healing time before I could have a prosthesis fitted, but I’m a real ‘busy body’ so I could not wait for that. I started going around in a wheelchair and soon I was making things in my workshop. I’m a boilermaker by trade, but my first love is fishing,” Mr Bekker relates.

Dr Deodat observes that, had the new techniques been available at the time of Mr Bekker’s amputation, he could have had a prosthesis fitted within days and been mobile far sooner.

Mr Bekker’s rehabilitation was fuelled by his passion for fishing, and he started making fishing paraphernalia, including fishing rod stands and fishing tackle boxes for sale – opening up a whole new avenue of economic opportunity for him. “I am motivated by things I love,” he says.

Dr Kritzinger adds: “The rehabilitation process is unique for each individual, and this process can be long and arduous but it is ultimately rewarding. It is our cherished hope that the insights shared here today will help to speed up this process so that individuals can recover more quickly after amputation.

“In addition, we believe that the skills development programme we are implementing at the Rand Mutual Care Facility will open new doors for our beneficiaries and help them to reintegrate into the workplace, or even forge entrepreneurial opportunities that they may have never otherwise dreamt of,” he concluded.

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5 OCT
2018

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