Chapter IV: Compensation For Injuries On Duty

Section 22 is in principle the most important section in the COID Act. Why? Because of the fact that the right to compensation is vested herein. It is also the section of the Act that creates the main difference between workers’ compensation and private insurance whether it is long or short term. A schematic outlay may perhaps assist you to understand this without having to study the law of insurance.  This difference is in any case a debate between academics that has been going on for years. The advocates of the law of insurance versus the group that maintains that workers’ compensation only contains certain insurance characteristics but is not insurance in the true sense of the word.  Let me point out a few differences:



Not a voluntary contract but a statutory duty for employers to adhere to.

An insurance policy is a voluntary form of a contract between parties.  This distinction was confirmed many years ago by the Supreme Court

The right to compensation is vested in the person injured on duty. The fact that an employer has not registered or failed to pay assessments has no effect on this right.

There won’t be any cover if no policy has been taken out and premiums paid. For private insurance a valid policy is necessary.

An employer as defined is obliged to report accidents of injured employees on a prescribed form; failing to do this can lead to severe fines in terms of the legislation.

It is up to a private policy holder to claim and report the event against which he was insured.

Due to a lack of space I cannot cover the section in totality but strongly advise that you familiarise yourselves with this section as it contains principles that you should know to be able to effectively administer workers’ compensation insurance.  I will briefly point out the most important principles that are contained in this section of the COIDA:

The periods for which payments in respect of periodical payments for temporary total disable are made;

The rule pertaining to accidents that are caused by the wilful and serious misconduct of employees themselves;

Cover for accidents happening when employees are conveyed free of charge by employers; etc.

Section 23 of the COIDA is also an important section to read.  It deals with accidents outside our borders, an aspect that is becoming more and more relevant. Due to the mobility of RSA employees to countries especially in Africa is the reason for this. I have over the years noticed that only a small number of employers are familiar with the provisions in this regard and that employees are negatively affected by this fact. So if it is required from your employees to temporarily work across the borders you better be aware how to ensure cover; safeguarding not only them but also yourselves against common law claims.

Section 32: Compensation May not be alienated or reduced is another one to be wary of.  It is not as technical as it would appear at first. I am sure that you will comprehend the implications of this section. 

If there is doubt about any of the provisions in Chapter IV you are welcome to contact me through the address on this website.  I will gladly assist if I can.

Till next month