Just a day after Employment and Labour Minister Thembelani Nxesi, announced the extension of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) to September 15, it has once again been suspended with immediate effect.
This follows Auditor General (AG) Kimi Makwetu’s damming report last week which identified poor financial management and verification controls, leading to millions in payments to the deceased, and people in prison intended to cushion employer/employees negatively impacted by the Covid-19 induced lockdown.
Hours after the shocking outcomes of the report by the AG last week Wednesday, Nxesi announced the suspension of UIF Commissioner Teboho Maruping, the Director-General of the Department of Employment and Labour suspended the CFO, COO and the Head of the Supply Chain.
In a statement on its website, the Department of Labour noted that the suspension had been necessitated to mitigate risks identified by the AG in the Covid Ters application system, and it would announce in due time when payments will resume.
This is the exact same reason the department cited for suspending payments by 24 hours, just over two weeks ago (August 25).
Despite the halt in payments, Business for South Africa (B4SA) said on a statement that it is pleased with Nexis’s announcement for the further extension of the scheme.
“It appears that this extension will last until the state of disaster ends, but final confirmation on funding availability for this is awaited,” (B4SA) said.
The scheme will assist the following applicants;
- Employees whose employers are not permitted to operate fully/partially;
- Vulnerable employees whose employers are unable to make alternative arrangements/implement special measures for such employees to return to work;
- and employees whose employers are unable to make use of their services fully/partially due to operational requirements.
The department noted that from 11 September 18:00 until 13 September 20:00 the website will be unavailable.
It will continue receiving applications for March to end July until September 15, thereafter no further applications shall be accepted.
The UIF has paid out more than R41 billion to more than 9.5 million workers.