COSATU welcomes President Ramaphosa’s signing of the Compensation of Occupational Injuries and Diseases Amendment Act into law

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa’s signing the Compensation of Occupational Injuries and Diseases Amendment Act (COIDA Act) today. 

The Federation endorses the progressive provisions of the COIDA Act. This Act is long overdue and will extend cover and relief to millions of workers, in particular women and domestic workers. COSATU’s support is based upon the following critical interventions included in the COIDA Act:

  • Domestic workers will now be covered, benefiting almost a million largely women workers who had been unconstitutionally excluded.
  • An expanded definition of workers’ dependents and beneficiaries to include their spouse(s), children, siblings, parents, and grandparents, thus reflecting South Africa’s cultural norms.
  • Diseases and post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from the workplace will now be included, providing relief for millions of workers in the mining, security, and other sectors, and women exposed to gender based violence at work. 
  • Introducing a no-fault rule, to replace practices in the past that have been abused to deny relief to workers.
  • Providing for stiff penalties for non-compliant employers.
  • Providing incentives for compliant employers.
  • Empowering labour inspectors to ensure compliance by employers.
  • Allowing courts to place caps on exorbitant fees claimed by lawyers.
  • Extending the time frame for submitting claims from 1 to 3 years; and
  • Clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of employers, contractors, and sub-contractors; thus protecting millions of workers who often fall through the cracks.

Whilst welcoming the assenting into law of this progressive Act by Parliament, the Federation is disappointed it took so many years and unnecessary delays by government to reach this stage. 

The Department of Employment and Labour as well as the Compensation of Occupational Injuries and Diseases Fund must put in place the necessary steps to ensure that this Act’s provisions comes into effect and are implemented by no later than 1 May 2023.  This must include measures to ensure employers and domestic workers are aware of its provisions and that employers are held accountable for compliance with it. 

COSATU will work with it’s Affiliates, SADSAWU, government and domestic workers to ensure workers are aware of their extended rights and protections under these long overdue and badly needed amendments. 

Domestic workers have waited long enough for their rights to a safe working environment to be recognised and enshrined into law. It will provide relief and protection to millions of workers across all sectors of the economy.

Issued by COSATU. 

For further information please contact:

Matthew Parks 

COSATU Parliamentary Coordinator