It’s been a rough week for the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).
Earlier this week, Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) payments were suspended following the “need to address some control deficiencies in the COVID-19 TERS online payment system”.
These deficiencies were discovered following an audit by the Auditor General of South Africa which is doing the same to several other organs of state.
“The suspension of payments is not a new thing to the fund. We do it all the time when we pick up certain anomalies that increase risk or expose us to potential fraud,” explained UIF commissioner, Teboho Maruping.
“There are instances where, at the behest of our Internal Audit and Risk Management Units, we have stopped payments to certain companies when certain deficiencies had been identified. This is part of our governance framework,” the commissioner added.
TERS payments resumed on Wednesday.
But the hits kept coming when on Thursday morning, Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi said his department is investigating claims of non-payment of TERS funds.
The problem here however seems to have less to do with the UIF and more to do with employers who are not paying employees.
“We are following up on employers who have not paid. We have made an undertaking that no matter how long it takes, if people are owed their monies, they will have to be paid after we have done proper investigations, and we have satisfied ourselves of the proper documentation, because it is equally dangerous to simply pay if the documentation is not proper,” the minister said.
Since its inception, the TERS portal has featured a list of paid employers. We urge you to head to this URL and key in the name of your employer (or download the CSV file by inputting the Captcha) to see if TERS payments have been made.
This is all the more concerning when you consider that the UIF has paid R34 billion in TERS benefits to date.
This money is meant to support employees who might be suffering as a result of the lockdown and we hope that the Department of Employment and Labour’s investigations are prompt and that employers who are keeping funds from employees are dealt with swiftly.