This week, tabling their financial reports to stakeholders and press, the agency which is the government parastatal, declared that the problems which have beset the organization would be dealt with one way or the other.
This affirmation was made by the newly appointed CE Dr Eugene Watson, who admitted having been at the hot-seat for only couple of months, accountability is paramount in transforming the face of the organization.
“We’re forging ahead with fraud and corruption management policy. The purpose of the policy seeks to identify and detect any unlawful activities experienced in the agency,” says Watson.
Almost 61 forensics and tip-off lines have been beefed up a sign that RAF is serious about combating any illegal activities, he said.
“Throughout the country, we’ve emphasised to our staff that corruption and fraud will never be tolerated.”
RAF, amongst others, has been given the middle-finger for poor lapse payment system, delayed settlements, improper investigative reporting, a fact the CE and chairperson of the board agreed has damaged the RAF brand.
“We’re working around the clock to change that perception,” they both conceded.
Key stakeholders such as DoT, Satawu, DoH, Sanco and Santaco, were part of the proceedings.
Almost 6,782 cases were finalised, 3,160 fraudulent files detected at a value of R461m and 502 arrests and 244 convictions in 2011/12 were made by the agency.
This according to Dr Watson would send a strong message to any culprit that, crime does not pay!
On the positive side, the agency has managed to timeously submit Fuel Levy application, manage RAF costs, increase the RAF footprint across the country, improve stakeholder communication and promoting road safety awareness, rolling-out the Operating model, submitting proposals/comments to DOT on the No-Fault system, increase BEE procurement and investing in social development, amongst others.
Asked whether funding from the State was enough, the bubbly Dr Watson diplomatically said, funding would never be enough.
“It should also be noted that, we’re not saying what we get from the government is not enough, but on the same token we’re saying with limited resources-considering the Nelspruit office is now operational- we can only do this much,” he says.
The controversial policy of direct claims has become a contentious issue, albeit the agency believes such move would help in eradicating fraud and reduce long settlement period currently experienced by claimants.
“The direct claims policy will work in our environment, for it would either reduce or eliminate prolonged settlements. ”
On imparting information to the public in his own words, said: “We hope our promotions awareness campaigns would educate our citizens on various mechanisms put into place and very importantly, interact with them to hear their concerns, what needs to be improved and, so forth.”
As of now, we’re going to process open claims, repudiate unprocessed claims and run block settlements, enhance operational delivery, optimise financial controls, manage deficit and of course, reduce backlogs, says Dr Watson.
In his closing remark, the latter emphasised that RAF operates in a context which is different to other entities in our social security framework, thus problems would always find its way into our organization.