The Covid-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) benefit has been temporarily suspended, following the identification of control deficiencies within the Ters system, Moneyweb reported.
According to Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) spokesperson Makhosonke Buthelezi, these control ‘deficiencies’ include inconsistencies regarding past payments made to people who are deceased, imprisoned, or who are minors.
The Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA) alerted the Department of Labour to the irregularities.
Buthelezi confirms that the department is investigating the AGSA’s findings.
“This issue is under investigation, however, we normally check IDs against the Home Affairs database. That is why in some cases we’ve been able to stop payments where Home Affairs confirms that the applicant is deceased,” Buthelezi says.
When asked by Moneyweb if this is an indication of corruption within the department or by applicants, he alludes to the fact that the department has previously made attempts to put control measures in place.
“Some of the things we’ve done to curb fraud include bank verification prior to payment, blocking the payment where anomalies are detected such as multiple UIF reference numbers against one bank account, and we’ve also introduced business rules to deal with some of the control deficiencies like payments to underage or overage claimants. We’re still going to appoint a team of auditors to follow up on all payments made,” Buthelezi says.
Buthelezi says it is unclear how long payments will be suspended.
Who has been paid?
According to the National Employers Association of South Africa:
- 12% of employers still haven’t received their April payments and of the 88% of employers who received payment, only 68% were paid in full.
- 19% of employers still haven’t received their May benefit; of the 81% who received payment, only 69% were paid in full.
- 30% of employers are still waiting for their June payments; of the 70% who received payment, only 77% were paid in full.
- 95% of employers still haven’t received their July benefit; of the 5% who received payment, only 47% were paid in full.
According to Moneyweb those wanting to receive April and May benefits have been told that they have until September 15 to apply, but because the outcome of the investigation is still dependent on the National Economic Development and Labour Council, this can no longer be confirmed.
“I’m unfortunately not sure when the outcome from Nedlac can be expected,” Buthelezi told Moneyweb.