Pursuant to the Fund’s (SMVAF) efforts of providing continuous service delivery and information dissemination to the public on the services rendered by the organisation, the Fund availed an information desk throughout the four (4) regions of the country where the culture competitions were staged.
This was done as a strategy to disseminate pertinent information regarding the benefits awarded to road accident victims to the throngs of cultural groups and supporters that participated in the elimination rounds.
Manned by the Fund’s Information Officer Nosimilo Vilakati, with assistance by other staff members from different departments, the desk was a hive of activity with multitudes of individuals inquiring on various topics ranging from the procedures to be followed when lodging a claim with the Fund, to where and how the Fund obtained the resources to rehabilitate and compensate claimants.
Speaking about the close to 300 people directly affected by accidents, Vilakati said that this was a good platform for the Fund to decentralise its services to the masses, especially considering that the locations where the cultural eliminations were held were in areas where the organisation had not yet adequately impacted.
“We managed to achieve our mandate of being visible and assisting our clients and general public enquiries through this competition. What I have realised is that a number of people from these areas think that there is a joining fee that is required in order for one to get assistance from the Fund, which is not the case and this is one of the misconceptions we managed to clarify,” she said.
Vilakati added that a sizeable number of individuals who had active claim files with the Fund we among the visitors, though they sought specific information regarding progress in their claim.
“Since we are currently based in Mbabane and Manzini, we advised all those and others who posed this vital question that the Fund had a toll-free line in place for anybody anywhere in the country to pick up the phone and find out on the progress of their files without having to travel long distances anymore,” she said.
She also highlighted that many visitors were also enlightened on the current claims regime, particularly the shift from lump-sum payments to staggered or deferred payments system.
“I had to educate them on the Amendment Act of 2011 which comprises of an order of precedence where one undergoes complete rehabilitation before they can be compensated, and I have found that people appreciate the work we do after we have comprehensively described what our work is about.”
“I would also like to urge the public to continue to come to our information desks wherever they see us as we are ready to help them in case they or their loved ones may need the services of the Fund in future,” she disclosed.