Debswana clears employee compensation mist
Debswana management has accused some of their former employees of tarnishing the company’s image in the media with illegitimate compensation claims.
The company accuses the disgruntled employees of forum shopping by engaging the Ministry of Labour, courts, press, Botswana Health Professionals Council and the Office of the President.
This week a panel of Debswana’s legal, medical and insurance experts addressed a media engagement session on the company’s compensation policy.
The engagement followed a barrage of complaints by some of the disgruntled employees who accused the company of swindling them of their benefits through unethical practices.
“The first story came up last year and we’re now in July and the stories keep coming up.
This shows that there is a lot of interest and perhaps there will be more enquiries coming your way regarding the compensation issue, hence this media engagement,” Group Corporate and Public Affairs Manager Esther Kanaimba-Senai told journalists on Tuesday.
Debswana’s Legal Counsel, Ludo Tema, said sometimes in 2011 there were a number of recurrent claims relating to alleged occupational illnesses, injuries or medical boarding.
“There were about two or three such cases that arose due to administrative or insurance issues and we realized that the company had erred.
We made sure that the individuals concerned received their payment as soon as possible.
Other cases that we went through involved legislation and policy and were dealt with adequately to our satisfaction,” she said.
Tema said upon review of other cases the company realized that they had similarities with sinister motives.
“A large number of claimants were in their early retirement age bracket and some had previously worked in South African mines.
Some had no SHE, supervisor’s records linking the alleged injury, disease to work related injuries or conditions.
The claim arises just before or after somebody’s retirement and despite payments having been made under the company’s discretionary policies, the claimants always push for payment under Workers Compensation (WCA) and always quick to engage the Union and attorneys, area Member of parliament and the Government enclave,” she said.
While some of the cases are before courts of law, Tema said the company had made appeals to the Minister in terms of the Workers Compensation Act.
The Debswana lawyer explained that the company was going out of its way to extend some generosity to its employees by offering discretionary benefits.
“We have a generous and well-established regime for managing ill health and injuries at the workplace but there is a sick leave requirement of 20 days per annum but Debswana offers 42 days.”
She added that the company had a rigorous process for dealing with injuries at workplace, including immediate reporting, reporting to business leadership, investigations and ultimate report with identified weaknesses and actions.
Debswana Hospital Superintendent Dr Mwamba Nsebula and Group Risk Manager Paul Ramokgalo explained the ODB and Insurance logistics respectively.