YOU WERE NOT INJURED ON
Total Swaziland (Pty) Ltd has come out to state categorically that one of its employees who wants compensation after being hooked by computer cables and falling from a chair, was not injured on duty.
Nomphumelelo Mkhatshwa, an Assistant Administrator, has taken her employer to the Industrial Court, seeking an order directing the company to effect payment of her outstanding salaries from October 2018 to date, pending settlement of the temporal disability compensation. She also wants the court to direct Total Swaziland to pay her annual bonus. Further, Mkhatshwa seeks an order directing the fuel distribution company to refund her the amount of E84 091.82 paid as medical expenses through SwaziMed.
Inherfoundingaffidavit,Mkhatshwa states that she was injured while at work on May 8, 2018 after she got hooked by computer cables, fell and injured her head, neck and left arm.
“I was then taken to Manzini Clinic where I was attended to by DR P.D Maseko, a specialist Neurosurgeon. I was then diagnosed with cervical disc disorders.
On June 7, 2018, Dr Maseko issued a medical certificate stating that I must be out of work and placed me under temporal disability for six months. I duly served this certificate through to first respondent (Total). I must declare at this juncture that on December 4, 2018, Dr Maseko declared me unfit for work,” she said.
She submitted that from the date of the injury, she has not been at work and has been in and out of hospital treating her injury.
She said during this period, her employer was paying her salary until it was stopped in October 2018 when shediscoveredthatherE12135cheque had not been deposited into her bank account. Instead, only 979.29 was deposited into her account. She raised thisissuewiththecompany’sManaging Director Onward Tubela, who in turn made enquiries about the issue.
“On November 6, 2018, I received anemailfromtheHRmanagerinforming that the reasons my salary was stopped was because I had exceeded mysickleavedayswhichwas45days. On November 11, I wrote to the first respondent and stated that I was not on a normal sick leave rather my being away was because of the injury on duty.
Again in November my salary was not paid, I wrote an email and copied same to various managers of the first respondent, including the MD complaining about the non- payment of my salary for the months of October and November 2018. I did not get any response from the first respondent,” she submitted.
She said in December, she again did not get her full salary but only received a bank in-contact message indicating that an amount of E7 396 had been wired into her account from Total. She said her representatives wrote to the company demanding her outstanding salary, among other things, including the non-payment of her medical bill.
“May I also state that the first respondent had not been paying my hospital bills at the Manzini Clinic despite making an undertaking to do so. This led to a situation that prompted the hospital not to attend to me in respect of my injury.
The hospital informed me that the first respondent is neglecting and/or refusing to pay the outstanding bill despite demand. I then tried to engage managers of the first respondent but I could not get any assistance. I even wenttotheofficesofthesecondrespondent(labourcommissioner)inManzini to get assistance. At the second respondent’s offices in Manzini, they referred my matter to Mbabane where I was told one Sikhumbuzo, whose full particulars are unknown to me, was handling my complaint,” she said.
Mkhatshwa submitted that after numerous follow-ups, she gathered that they were making efforts to make Total Swaziland pay. She said she was informed that each time officers from the office of the labour commissioner reminded Total to pay her medical bill, the company would promise to pay but fail to live up to that promise.
“Consequently, I had to use my SwaziMed high benefit card number 901000135933. In fact, ever since the day I got injured at work, I have been using this card since the hospital could not admit and/or treat me without any payment being made. I must mention that had I not used my card, I would have not been able to undergo a very crucial surgery on October 17, 2018, whichsetmeastaggeringE70652.51,” she submitted.
Total Swaziland’s managing director (MD) has since deposed to an answering affidavit in the matter. In his affidavit, he has stated from the outset that according to his company, Mkhatshwa was not injured on duty. He then goes on to state why the company holds the view that Mkhatshwa was not injured on duty.
“The applicant was diagnosed with cervical spondylosis in January 2017. This injury, I am advised, relates to her spine.
The symptoms which include a headache and neck pains worsened in February 2017 and the applicant was then hospitalised for an operation.
The applicant thereafter attended physiotherapy sessions at SOPREC and physiotherapists recommended a special chair for her use when on duty as part of the therapy.
The chair was purchased by the first respondent for the applicant in compliance with the recommendation of the physiotherapist. The applicant was symptom free during the first respondent’s annual medical surveillance which was conducted around March 2018,” he submitted.
TheMDgoesontostatethatonMay 8, 2018, Mkhatshwa, on her own, fell from a chair and an ambulance was called and she was quickly taken to the Manzini Clinic where she was attended to by one Dr Maseko.
“At the hospital, no injuries were identified either on the head, neck or any part of the applicant’s body as per the medical records in our possession,” he said.