Numsa issues RAF 48-hour strike notice demanding removal of CEO

NUMSA to shutdown RAF offices demanding removal of RAF CEO Collins Letsoalo

NUMSA to shutdown RAF offices demanding removal of RAF CEO Collins Letsoalo

Published Mar 12, 2024


The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has served the Road Accident Fund (RAF) with a 48-hour notice to strike over the alleged continuous mismanagement of the entity by the CEO.

The union announced it would be mobilising its members for a shutdown of all of the fund’s offices as of Thursday, while also marching to the offices of the National Department of Transport in Pretoria.

Irvin Jim, Numsa’s general secretary, said the union would be delivering a memorandum to the department calling for the removal of RAF CEO Collins Letsoalo over the “disastrous state” of the entity.

Jim accused Letsoalo of behaving as if he was untouchable, which was part of the reason why the entity was in a shambles, with the board seemingly helpless in the face of his gross incompetence.

According to Numsa, the mass action comes as a result of a number of issues, including the decision to outsource its critical operations, namely its call centre operations; and threatening to retrench its employees while giving permanent positions to companies allegedly affiliated to the ANC government.

This, as he alleged the fund had permanently closed its internal call centre, only to outsource the function to the tune of more than R200 million for 13 months to a company that had a history of benefiting hugely from government tenders.

Also, after the termination of the panel of attorneys, default judgments had allegedly become a daily challenge for the RAF, with attorneys demanding favourable settlements.

Furthermore, he accused the fund of continuing to implement restructuring after it abandoned the formal, lawful restructuring process which was under the auspices of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) during February 2023.

“The failure by the RAF to pay out claimants on time means that the assets of the institution are routinely attached by sheriffs of the court, so that they can be sold in order to pay monies owed.

“As a result, desks, chairs and office equipment are attached. Workers sit on boxes or on the floor when doing their work, because there are no desks or chairs.”

Jim said the CEO’s arrogance could be further evidenced by the inability of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) to act against him.

“Letsoalo is so arrogant that he even blocked Parliament’s oversight committee from entering the RAF premises at the Menlyn offices last year when MPs went to the workplace to conduct inspections.

“The members of Scopa had to call the police to force the management of the RAF to give them access.

“At least 200 claims handlers remain on suspension since 2022 when they were accused of fraud by the management, and there has been no disciplinary action against them. This is a blatant abuse of the disciplinary process.”

The union emphasised how the careless actions of the CEO to leave matters unresolved had led to an unbearable backlog of unprocessed RAF claims caused by the lack of claims handlers.

Handlers still employed were reportedly sitting with 2 000 claims on their profiles.

“Letsoalo is single-handedly destroying the RAF and he believes that no one will hold him accountable for his shocking behaviour.

“Judging from the behaviour of the government, and its lacklustre response to this crisis, it seems he may be right.

“We call on workers to ignore his threats of dismissal and disciplinary action for going on strike. The strike certificate means that when you strike, there is nothing he can do,” Jim added.

Linda Rulashe, RAF senior manager media, said: “The RAF has an important meeting this afternoon and will only be able to respond thereafter.”