NATIONAL NEWS - A Randburg resident is one of the thousands of retrenched and unemployed people without an income while millions of rand were looted from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) by government officials, prisoners and the “dead”.
Earlier this year, the department of employment and labour announced the Temporary Employment Relief Scheme (Ters) benefits through the UIF to compensate employees who found themselves unemployed during the lockdown.
“I am still waiting for my UIF benefits after being retrenched in June,” said DJ le Grange.
Le Grange said after a long and frustrating process, he was chased away from UIF offices due to a “corona scare” and was told to file an online application.
“My online application was completed by an assessor on 30 July. Yet no payments have been made,” said Le Grange.
For the past three weeks, Le Grange has been trying to contact the online help desk without any luck. On Friday the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) joined by the portfolio committee on employment and labour to conduct an oversight visit to the UIF.
Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said in a statement the committee was concerned with the lack of human capacity at UIF, particularly at the call centre, which is where e-mails, online applications and calls from the public were processed.
“Scopa was informed the call centre has a backlog of 444 000 e-mails from the public with only eight call centre agents to attend to those e-mails,” Hlengwa said.
Last Wednesday, the Auditing General of South Africa and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) presented findings to the Scopa.
SIU found that soldiers, in-mates and deceased individuals claimed from the Ters fund. About 59 army members claimed R327 638 from the relief fund. Seven inmates were also paid R40 657.93.
A total of 68 deceased individuals were paid R441 144.34. About 6 140 government officials were paid over R41 million.