CAPE TOWN – The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has spent an astronomical R51 billion in Covid-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (Covid-19 TERS) payments to help workers, business and the economy mitigate the worst impact of the national lockdown on workers, according to a statement by the government on Tuesday
Acting UIF Commissioner Marsha Bronkhorst said: “Exceeding R51 billion through our special Covid-19 TERS Relief Scheme is a great achievement by all standards and I am proud that we could deliver this financial assistance to workers and companies at the time they needed it the most.
“The amount of R51 billion is the biggest amount that has been disbursed by government to workers during the Coronavirus lockdown and this mammoth accomplishment should be celebrated by all.
“I am also proud of the UIF officials and stakeholders for their relentless toils and contribution towards this achievement. Under the most difficult and uncertain of circumstances, we have been able to rise to the occasion and help millions of workers during the lockdown. Where there were mistakes, we have corrected them and are continually ensuring that we improve.”
The UIF was earlier subjected to an audit by the Auditor-General where it observed some control deficiencies and anomalies in the system. This prompted a delay payments, which were later resumed.
Bronkhorst said the UIF had taken a number of steps to address the systemic challenges they faced with regard to the payments.
The statement showed that the R51 045 255 369.21 billion covers 1 000 824 companies that applied and was disbursed in 11 575 623 payments which is broken down as follows:
For April, R21 billion has been paid to 4 240 112 workers through 410 523 employers;
The payments for May month stand at just over R12 billion for the benefit of 3 108 611 workers through 280 191 employers;
In June, the UIF has so far disbursed R10.5 billion to 2 904 749 workers represented by 217 982 employers;
For July/August, R5.7 billion has been paid to 997 499 workers through 67 721; and R1.2 billion has been paid for August/September to 324 652 workers represented by 24 407 employers.
An amount of R1.6 billion has been paid directly to 390 996 workers and R214 million was disbursed to 60 275 domestic workers. Documented and declared foreign nationals have been paid R1.6 billion.
Concerns have, however, earlier been raised that the UIF might have to dispose of some of its investments if the Covid-19 Ters benefit payments were extended. Director of communication and marketing Makhosonke Buthelezi said that as a result of the pandemic, some of the fund’s investments had shrunk.
Bronkhorst said while they were extremely elated about paying R51 billion the fund was also making sure that all the outstanding valid claims were paid, as soon as all the information was received.
“We still have 462 863 undeclared workers and urge employers to submit these declarations urgently so we can pay these workers,” she said.
Bronkhorst also revealed that this week, the fund would be doing a re-run of all outstanding payments for April, May and June and clients.
“The re-run will cover all claims that were not paid for April, May and June due to outstanding information such as undeclared employees. If all the information has been submitted correctly to us, we will be paying these employees this week,” the acting Commissioner said.
Discussions are still underway at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) regarding the extension of Covid-19 TERS past 16 September 2020.