By Thabo Monyela
With the festive season around the corner, employees of various companies and those who have been retrenched or unable to report for duty due to different reasons might not be able to make ends meet following allegations that the Department of Labour was delaying unemployment insurance fund (UIF) and Covid-19 TERS payment claims.
It was learnt that the UIF gives short-term relief in the form of monetary assistance to workers if they become, unemployed or are unable to work because of maternity leave, adoption leave or long term illness. An employee and employer contribute 1% each towards the UIF, it was reported.
Workers are currently not satisfied with both the UIF claims and Covid-19 TERS payments as many of them have taken their frustrations to different social media platforms. They allege that they have been waiting for their monies for many months now. The disgruntled individuals went as far as claiming that they deserve to receive their hard earned monies more than the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) beneficiaries who get theirs without delay.
Peter Malatji (27), Tshepo Matlou (26) and Peace Hlolane (24) who worked for a certain bakery in Tzaneen alleged that they were still waiting for the procession of their UIF claims since July. They shared their frustrations with Tzaneen Voice.
“I completed the UI16 form in July and I was told to wait for 35 days for my claim to be paid out but nothing happened ever since,” Malatji said The trio went on to allege that their claims procession are always cancelled. According to them, they are certain that the problem lies within the Department of Labour not with their former employer.
Due to Covid-19 rules and regulations it is difficult for the concerned workers to access departmental premises for a direct help. “Whenever we try to call the toll line, it goes unattended and this is frustrating, especially because I am using my last cents to purchase airtime,” Matlou stressed.
The trio was hoping to use the UIF monies to purchase clothes for their children and cover other necessary expenses during the festive season.
It doesn’t rain but pours for Marsha Bronkhorst’s administration (acting Commissioner of the Department of Employment and Labour), as it is claimed that most of the UIF Covid-19 TERS beneficiaries have not received their monies for months now.
During an interview on national television Bronkhorst said they initially budgeted R40 billion for UIF, Covid-19 TERS payments but they have now exceeded to R51 billion. As a result they decided to cancel the funding, it was learnt. “Any claims we have in our system up to 30 October will be paid,” Bronkhorst said.
Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi reportedly said: “We have engaged with all labour partners, business and community but have so far been unable to find common ground at the stage.”
Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) through its media statement vehemently rejected the cancellation of UIF Covid-19 TERS payments as it was stated that it was reckless and outrageous while the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) marched to the headquarters of Employment and Labour and Sassa offices to demand the procession of the workers’ monies on Thursday.