Coida - Delictual



Since its inception in March 1994, COIDA, the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act has replaced the former Workmen’s Compensation Act. COIDA asserts that every company must register its members/employees for COIDA, even if it has only one member. All employers are obliged to pay into the Compensation Fund. The amount payable is dependent on the number of employees in the company, the salaries paid and the nature of the industry.  In the event that an employee is injured at work, or gets a disease directly related to his/her work, then the employee will get paid out of the Compensation Fund.



Delict is a legal term, which, signifies a wilful wrong doing. It pertains to the area of law that governs the obligation to refrain from wrongful conduct which may harm the interests of another, and the duty to compensate one who is harmed as a result of the other’s wrongful conduct. The term ‘delict’ can also be used to refer to specific forms of action arising under this area of the law. Where there is duty for an individual to compensate another (also known as the duty to make reparation) the one compelled to make payment is referred to as being delictually liable.

At common law an employee has a right to institute a delictual action against his or her employer for compensation. There is also a common law right to a safe working environment. COIDA removes the common law right of the injured or ill employee to claim damages from his/her employer in a court of law. Section 35 of the COIDA excludes the employer from delictual liability for all damages arising out of occupational injuries and diseases.

Instead the claim for compensation is addressed to the Compensation Commissioner. Section 35(1) of COIDA. . The prohibition on employees and the dependents of employees instituting an action against an employer covers both claims based on an employer’s vicarious liability for the acts of employees and claims occasioned by the employer’s own negligence. All claims for damages are excluded, including those for pain, suffering and loss of amenities of life.

However, an employee is not prevented from claiming damages from the employer where the accident is a result of the deliberate wrongdoing of the employer.

COIDA provides a system of no-fault compensation for employees who are injured in accidents or who sustain occupational diseases, arising out of and in the course of their employment. Nofault compensation refers to a compensation scheme based on the principle that injured persons are entitled to receive compensation for their injuries without having to prove any other party was at fault in an accident Although COIDA offers a system of no-fault compensation, negligence plays a key role, as an employee is entitled to additional compensation if it can be established that the injury was caused by the negligence of the employer or certain categories of manager and fellow employees.

(Sources: Department of Labour, Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), Erasmus law, Deneys Reitz Attorneys, D.Wanbland).
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