Chairman’s Report

Haroon Y Laher

Chairman of the Board

The office remains stable in the midst of all the changes around the amalgamation and increase in the number of complaints lodged during the year, and into 2020.

This is my third report – and who would have imagined it being written, on my balcony, in the midst of a pandemic that is a human tragedy. COVID-19 is indeed a human tragedy of enormous depth and proportions.

The organisation remains strong in all its areas, and this is a tribute to the administrative and professional skills, the continued teamwork, and the energy of all involved.
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OSTI remains an independent organisation. It continues to deliver fair and just outcomes. The organisation remains strong in all its areas, and this is a tribute to the administrative and professional skills, the continued teamwork, and the energy of all involved. The organisation has not lost its focus, and is in good shape.

The “soft” amalgamation has gone off seamlessly. The single Insurance Ombudsman is now very much a part of us. Judge Ron McLaren is responsible, ethical and professional. He is liked and respected by the OSTI team. He has forged strong relationships, in a short time, with people in the OSTI family.

I thank the members of the OCCC for their contributions on the issues that impact on OSTI in a post-COVID-19 world.
The “soft” amalgamation has gone off seamlessly.

Edite Teixeira-McKinon continues to demonstrate real and true leadership (more about her leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic later).

She has ensured that OSTI’s role remains to resolve complaints in the quickest time period. Justice and fairness remains paramount, even if the resolution does not always seem fair from the outside.

The office remains stable in the midst of all the changes around the amalgamation and increase in the number of complaints lodged during the year, and into 2020.

Various initiatives introduced over the years, like going paperless, have and continue to bear fruit. The paperless world has particularly served OSTI well under the lock-down caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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I thank my board for all their contributions made during this period. The success of OSTI is also very much due to the open debate policy adopted during board meetings.

I cannot end without referencing the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on OSTI. Management, led by Edite Teixeira-McKinon and Miriam Matabane, was ahead of the curve. I commend them for thinking ahead – it ensured that staff were enabled to work from home. The board established an OSTI COVID-19 Crisis Committee (OCCC), chaired by me and consisting of Edite, Miriam, Gail Walters, Collin Molepe and Gerhard Genis.

The OCCC focused on the well-being and health of the OSTI, and communicated with them regularly to check on their well-being and
health. Staff settled into their new reality and are working well together to achieve OSTI’s goals. They are in contact with colleagues. As part of its mandated terms of reference, the OCCC also looked at the financial and operational impact of COVID-19. OSTI remains financially sound, and there was no material impact in April 2020 on the targets for the month.

The situation will be monitored closely by the OCCC. I thank the members of the OCCC for their contributions on the issues that impact on OSTI in a post-COVID-19 world.

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OSTI remains financially sound, and there was no material impact in April 2020 on the targets for the month.

Together, we have lived the words of our President, Cyril Ramaphosa: “The action we take now must … be measured and incremental … We cannot take action today that we will deeply regret tomorrow.”

I wish you health and safety.

Haroon Y Laher

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