Noluthando joined the Road Accident Fund (RAF) in 2015. The RAF is an Agency of the Department of Transport, it plays an essential role in the South African Society to bring socio-economic balance. RAF’s mandate is to provide appropriate cover to all road users within the borders of SouthAfrica, rehabilitate andcompensate persons injured because of a motor crash and to help people rebuild their lives.
Passionate about community development, in which she obtained a degree from Unisa, Noluthando oversees the creation and implementation of the RAF’s social responsibility programmes. When she started at the RAF her focus was to align CSR strategy into the Funds business objectives, without replicating the mandate.
Under Noluthando’s leadership the RAF’s CSR initiated a flagship Caregiver training programme intended to capacitate and equip RAF caregivers with the necessary knowledge and skills that are required to deal with the day-to-day challenges around the home during their continued care for road accident victims. Home-based health care is an important part of the RAF’s rehabilitation process, and the goal of caregiving is to continue treating illness or injury in a home environment.
To this end the RAF has compiled its own basic caregiving training manual. The Introductory Caregiver Manual was developed by the RAF’s social responsibility team in partnership with the Rehabilitation Institute of Africa, an NGO that specialises in rehabilitation.
Noluthando says there are no NGOs specifically for post-crash care, so accident victims are absorbed into organisations caring for people with disabilities or with special needs.
During the lockdown necessitated by the Covid 19 pandemic, the RAF’s home care programme was disrupted. As caregivers could not visit the claimants due to restrictions. Some of these claimants lived alone or had nobody to look after them. Covid -19 had a devastating impact on the country’s economy, and the RAF was not spared the adverse impact.
Before Covid, CSR was more focused on post-crash care initiatives, however, it later realised that prevention is also key in ensuring a sustainable contribution towards reduction of accidents. This led to the CSR partnership with the Road Safety (RS) unit, to ensure that RS programs benefiting more than 75% black beneficiaries are implemented and reported through CSR.
Since everyone is a potential accident victim, working from this maxim the RAF CSR through its preventive arm collaborates with law enforcement agencies to promote Road Safety. The emphasis is to promote driver wellness, with a special focus on transport modes that carry many commuters (e.g., taxis, buses etc) as well as freight. Statistics have indicated that there is high percentage of accidents caused by people who are visually impaired and those with chronic health issues (e.g., epilepsy, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.) Hence the focus on sponsored health checks and provision of prescription glasses without any financial cost to the beneficiaries.
This is the RAF’s main programme after Covid.
In her introduction to the RAF’s Health/Post-crash booklet, Noluthando reveals that deaths on South African roads are currently among the highest in the world, at an average of 14 000 per year compared to Australia’s average of 1 300 deaths a year.
The work of the RAF is therefore essential in countering this statistic. Their newly adopted values of Integrity, Compassion, Accountability, Respect, Empathy, and Excellence, popularly known as I-CARE, demonstrates their mission of meeting their social responsibility obligations. In doing this important work, they support the Transport Sector Codes and the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) codes.
Going forward Noluthando spearheads the RAF’s CSR/CSI strategy of rethinking and re-evaluating its social responsibility after the Covid pandemic in support of the Funds’ 2020-2025 strategic pillars.
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