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The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) together with the Department of Employment and Labour have decided to temporarily halt payments for the Covid-19 Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) relief benefits.
This follows a report by the Auditor General (AG) Kimi Makwetu earlier this month on Covid-19 funds that showed alleged corruption by different departments and interference in the system controls.
The AG’s damning report earlier this month found that there were over-payments, underpayments as well as duplicate payments of UIF funds.
“Whilst the AG has shown us a number of deficiencies in the payment of the COVID-19 TERS benefits, I must hasten to add that many of these deficiencies had been picked up already by management,” says acting UIF commissioner Marsha Bronkhorst.
“Some had already been corrected in the June payments but we will continue to improve the systems so that it responds to needs of our beneficiaries and make the payments effective and efficient.”
The Fund has also committed to taking several steps to address the systemic challenges concerning payments.
“We have entered into Memoranda of Understanding with a number of government institutions to make sure we get access into their updated databases,” said Bronkhorst.
The institutions include the South African Social Security Agency, National Students Financial Aid Scheme and the Department of Home Affairs, which is currently verifying the UIF database to ensure payments reach the correct beneficiaries.