The Democratic Alliance (DA), has questioned the motives of Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi after it was revealed that R5.7 million in UIF funds was paid to one single person.
DA Shadow Minister for Employment and Labour Dr Michael Cardo said there is clearly something wrong at the fund that goes beyond “system glitches”. This, also after the UIF has not yet opened June applications for the COVID-19 TERS benefit.
UIF FUNDS FOR HUNDREDS OF WORKERS, PAID TO ONE PERSON
Cardo said the UIF’s tardiness in disbursing benefits, is having a devastating impact on the livelihoods of millions of workers and their families.
“[This] raises a critical question: Is the UIF running out of money?” asked Cardo.
Last week, it was revealed that R5.7 million in UIF funds, intended for hundreds of workers impacted by the national lockdown, was paid to a single person.
“The money was then rapidly disbursed to friends and business associates of the recipient over the course of five days,” he said.
“This instance of fraud and money-laundering, which surely required the involvement of UIF officials to succeed, is probably only the tip of the iceberg. Most public institutions in South Africa are regarded as a private piggy bank for venal officials, and it would be surprising if the UIF were any different,” he added.
According to the DA, of the R40 billion that was set aside for the COVID-19 Ters benefit scheme for the months of April, May and June, the UIF has paid out roughly R26 billion.
“Many workers have still not received their payments for April. Only about R6 billion worth of benefits has been disbursed for May, compared to R20 billion for April,” said Cardo.
On 26 June, the Department of Employment and Labour announced that nearly one million people — 965 751 to be exact — are unable to receive their UIF payment. It translated to an amount of R4.2 billion that had not been paid out. The department put it down to “outstanding information” from employers.
“Even taking into consideration the fact that more workers would have been allowed to go back to work on full pay as the lockdown eased, this suggests there are substantial backlogs at the UIF,” he added.
WILL THE UIF BE ABLE TO HONOUR ITS OBLIGATIONS?
A recent reply to a parliamentary question indicated that – according to the UIF’s own actuaries – if the unemployment rate peaks at 41.4% (which is likely) and COVID-19 Ters benefits cost between R48 and R68 billion, then the UIF will become financially unsound and will have to borrow money.
If the unemployment rate peaks at 53.7% (which is not impossible) and COVID-19 Ters benefits cost between R48 and R68 billion, then it won’t be able to pay all claims when due.
“The UIF is already struggling to pay Ters on time. Minister Nxesi needs to take the nation into his confidence, announce when the applications for June benefits will open, and be honest about whether the UIF can honour its obligations,” said Cardo.
Incase you missed the story;
Tshepang Phohole received a R5.7 million payout from the UIF which was supposed to go to 1 400 workers. Instead, he and his family allegedly defrauded the state and went on a massive spending spree. The UIF payment was originally meant to go to CSG Resources, a labour brokerage company, but instead, the funds landed up in Phohole’s account.
Phohole who works as a packer at a paint company became an instant millionaire.
Thobile Lamati, the directory-general of the labour department informed parliament’s standing committee…Read more………