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RMA champions SA’s workforce as the heartbeat of driving economic prosperity

From South Africa’s bustling urban hubs to its rural heartlands, workers from across the rainbow nation are integral to driving the success of diverse sectors. As the country commemorates Worker’s Day, it’s important to recognise the dedication of employees in shaping and sustaining the country’s growth trajectory, collectively forming the cornerstone upon which the nation’s prosperity is built.

While the nation has the potential for greatness, the state of occupational health and safety (OHS) faced by the workforce is hindering progress, and reveals a sobering truth that needs to be addressed. Despite OHS being a legal prerequisite in South Africa, the country continues to record an occupational fatality rate that surpasses the global average.

According to Lungelo Nomvalo, Group Executive: Corporate Services of Rand Mutual Assurance (RMA) - a leading administrator of occupational injury and disease compensation in the mining and metal industries with over 130 years of industry experience - all employees across various sectors, including their own, are the backbone of the economy. RMA has placed their care and wellbeing at the forefront of its operations.

“At RMA, we believe that workers are the heartbeat of the economy, and, as such, we embody our brand promise of caring and compassionate compensation in every aspect of our work. Whether our clients are injured on duty, facing illness, or pass away and leave a family behind, we strive to make the settlement of claims as stress-free, fast and efficient as possible, alleviating their financial burden.”

To this end, RMA has made considerable strides in 2023, delivering a total shared social value of R3.2 billion distributed among its stakeholders. Moreover, the company administers over one million members, and has paid over R7 million annually on special allowances and extension pensions alone, consistent with our identity as a social insurer.

The escalating OHS predicament demands a multifaceted approach that goes beyond compensation, with prevention and rehabilitation taking centre stage. RMA believes that injured workers require rehabilitation.

“The success of OHS systems is dependent on leadership, commitment, and participation across all levels and functions of an organisation,” says Nomvalo. “At RMA, our mandate is not only about compensation, but also about assisting our clients in preventing work-related accidents and injuries and promoting the safety of employees, with training being key to driving this.”

In the event of a worker being injured on the job, it is imperative that they undergo rehabilitation to achieve maximum recovery, regain independence, and reintegrate into the workforce and society successfully. An example of this is RMA’s vocational rehabilitation programme which provides training in artisanal skills to Compensation for Occupational Injuries And Diseases (COID) pensioners, helping them to access income-generating opportunities.

Launched in August 2021, the programme builds on skills development programme and is designed to bridge the gap between theoretical training and market readiness, helping beneficiaries secure formal employment, or in the case of entrepreneurs, business contracts.

“Although Worker’s Day is honoured once a year, at RMA, we believe that the South African workforce is the backbone of the country’s economic engine and the foundation of building a prosperous nation, and should, in fact, be celebrated every day,” concludes Nomvalo.

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