While the number of claims for compensation as a result of sickness acquired in the workplace because of the COVID-19 pandemic are still going up, very few people have lodged death claims as a result of the virus.

According to the Department of Employment and Labour, only one funeral has been paid R18 251 in the period since the onset of the pandemic.

“While it is early to make conclusions, it does seem that we got off more lightly than we feared. This is good news but off course, one death is one too many,” said Compensation Fund Commissioner Vuyo Mafata.

Over 4 000 COVID-19 claims lodged

According to the figures released on Thursday, a total of 4 916 COVID-19 claims have been received so far, and this include 3 240 directly to the Compensation Fund (CF) and a further 1 539 to Rand Mutual, while Federated Employees have received 137 claims.

“Rand Mutual, which operates under licence as granted by Minister of Employment and Labour, and covers mostly workers in the mining and iron and steel industries, has paid out R3.2 million in dependent benefits, while the CF (Compensation Fund) has paid R419 182.85 in medical aid claims for workers who have contracted COVID-19 while on duty,” Mafata said.

Of the 3 240 claims received by the CF, 1 847 come from the Western Cape followed by Eastern Cape with 666, Gauteng with 398, KwaZulu-Natal with 225, Mpumalanga 65, North West 29, Northern Cape 7 and Limpopo 3.

The CF has accepted liability to 2 097, repudiated 443 while 700 cases await adjudication. Almost 80 percent of the cases at CF have affected women.

The claims received by Rand Mutual shows that Gauteng has received 1 122 claims, 147 in the Eastern Cape, 60 in the Western Cape, 71 in KwaZulu-Natal, 35 in North West, 25 in the Free State, 21 in Limpopo, and 58 are unknown.

“Of the 1 539 claims received so far, 1 319 are pending adjudication while 216 have been repudiated,” Mafata said.

Federated employers who represent workers mostly in the construction sector has received 137 claims – mostly from the Gauteng.

R40bn paid to ease burden of COVIS-19 lockdown

Meanwhile, Mafata said a picture is emerging on the assistance the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) gave different industries as part of the R40 billion that it has paid so far since 26 March to ease the burden of the COVID-19 lockdown.