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Businesses, employees criticize UIF payment process
7 May 2020, 11:41 AM

Many South Africans have taken to social media to express their outrage over the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) payment process.

People say after years of contributing to the UIF, they were paid only a few rands as the country finished the sixth week of the COVID-19 enforced national lockdown.

Many business owners as well as their employees feel that the UIF has left them in the lurch, as they are in a financial crisis.

Others are frustrated after their claims were rejected and have lamented the slow pace at which payments are being processed.

A Johannesburg business owners say he and his employees are in a tight spot.

He says, “I have 8 employees that I have been paying UIF for 8 years and I received a whopping 70 cents. One of my employees received R3 719 and the other employees were rejected. By at least Monday next week, if I have no payments – I don’t know what’s going to happen at the end of this month, I am going to have to issue out notices to all my staff to say they need to prepare, they are going to get retrenched until further notice.”

However, the UIF is adamant that it is making payments within 48-hours, in cases which employers are submitting relevant documentation.

UIF commissioner Teboho Maruping says, “People who applied yesterday – we are paying them today and people who applied with their files that is now 48 hours ago, we are also paying them today. So there is no backlog as far as UIF is concerned. We have automated most of our processes and we are paying as and when we receive applications…”

“Today alone we are paying R1.5 billion to all the people that have applied so I can not say there is a backlog at this stage,” added Maruping.


Eastern Cape confirms cross province COVID-19 cases
7 May 2020, 9:22 AM

Health authorities in the Eastern Cape have confirmed that 34 people who travelled from the Western Cape at the start of Level 4 last week, have tested positive for COVID-19.

Last week, as the country welcomed slightly relaxed regulations and many vehicles mostly minibus taxis were seen at the Aberdeen border with Western Cape on the R61, as people took the opportunity to travel home.

The health authorities are now tasked with tracing them as the open window allowing for inter-provincial travel comes to an end.




The Western Cape last week passed Gauteng to become the epicenter of COVID-19 in South Africa recording the highest number of infections in the country.

As it stands, the province has 3 760 confirmed cases while Gauteng legs behind with only 1 720 cases.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde attributed the rise in the number of confirmed cases in the province to an aggressive tracking and tracing system.

Winde said, “I personally think it is because we very aggressively going out to trace once we have tested the positive… We very aggressively going out there to track and trace which lifts our positive numbers.

The 7 day window period for travelling between provinces ends on Thursday at midnight


Golden Arrow Bus drivers protest over safety concerns
7 May 2020, 8:39 AM

Golden Arrow Bus drivers are protesting outside the company’s depot in Montana, Cape Town, over safety concerns around COVID-19.

The drivers allege that procedures and regulations which need to be followed regarding COVID-19 are being flaunted by the employer.

A worker, who wants to remain anonymous, says they are calling for a mobile testing centre to be established at the workplace.

They say, as workers they don’t want to be screened and checked, they want to be tested and see how far this disease has spread. They say they fear that even passengers are not safe, because they are not 100% sure that all the busses are being sanitised.

They are worried for their families and for their future.

Last week, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula gave details on adjustments made to the transport sector as the country moved to Level 4 of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Mbalula also gave revised operating hours for public transport and road-based transport during the Level 4 national lockdown.

The Department also planned to distribute at least 14 million masks in the public transport system as it’s now mandatory to wear a mask whenever you venture into the public space.

The infographic below outlines the Level 4 public transport regulations:

Security company to face consequences over Lindela escape
7 May 2020, 7:00 AM

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says there will be consequences for security company Enviromongz after 37 undocumented migrants escaped from the Lindela Repatriation Centre outside Krugersdorp in Gauteng.

Motsoaledi says the escape, which happened on Sunday, was an inside job allegedly by security personnel.

He says those who escaped were waiting to be repatriated to their home countries.

Motsoaledi has blamed the private security company and alleges that the escape took place after security guards abandoned their posts, vowing to ensure that Enviromongz will be held accountable for the escape.

Since the escape, over 10 security personnel have been suspended.

In the video below, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi addresses the issue of the escapees

“I saw through the CCTV camera they just climbed the walls and escaped, the guards that were there – they were just being overpowered because they knew that there were not enough guards left,” says Motsoaledi.

Inside job

He says, “So it is an inside job, nobody could have escaped without being aided by people inside here so they aided them. The company suspended those guards. We as the Department of Home Affairs will deal with the company, it is an inside job.”

But a suspended security guard has denied the allegations levelled by the minister.

Patrick Ntise says, “I’m suspended because I knocked off early. I knocked off early because we were verbally told that we need to work 12 hours. Then they will pay us the overtime, but because they didn’t pay us the overtime, we… on the agreement, on the paper, black and white, it’s 8 hours…”

“We engaged with the management, we told them that because we’re not being paid overtime, let’s stick to our 8 hours, then we knocked off. And that rumour about us telling the inmates to run away… It would be stupid for us to do that because there are some of our members who are still working there, we are putting them in danger. That rumour is false,” added Ntise.

This is not the only incident to thrust the centre in the spotlight. Over the weekend, a video showing foreign nationals inside an allegedly overcrowded facility went viral.


In the video, the migrants do not observe any of the COVID-19 safety regulations. The video was posted by an organisation calling itself the Black Power Civil Rights Movement (BPCRM).

It’s president General Thekisho says the situation at the centre will lead to more cases of COVID-19.

Thekisho says, “Since last year people are detained from Joburg or during the programme that was led by the premier. Most of them are still being kept in Lindela and were not even taken back to their countries and that worries us because the place is over crowded. The issue of social distancing is a problem. Screening only took place, but new people that are coming in Lindela are not properly screened.”

Motsoaledi dismissed the footage as fake news and says lockdown regulations have been adhered to at the centre and has warned people not to confuse the public.

The Minister says an investigation is underway after claims that the department fell victim to a dispute between workers and the security company.

Below is a graph with Level-4 lockdown regulations:




Hotels hit hard by COVID-19 lockdown
7 May 2020, 6:20 AM

The tourism industry has come to a complete standstill with big and small hotel operators seeing huge financial losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, since many countries around the world remain under lockdown.

Locally major players like Sun International, Hilton Hotels and Tsogo Sun have shut down a number of hotels and casinos in accordance with government’s regulations aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus.

The Tsogo Sun Group reported that it would be closing 36 hotels which represents 40% of the groups portfolio. It has further indicated that some facilities have been offered to government for use as quarantine spots.

In Cape Town, more than 90 staff members of the Hilton Hotel say they are struggling financially after they were not paid their salary last month by the global hotel group which has closed over a thousand hotels worldwide.




Relief funding

The Department of Tourism says it will start dispersing the R200 million COVID-19 relief funding dedicated to small and medium enterprises in the sector. This after Afriforum and Solidarity failed in their court bid to challenge the distribution of funds based on Black Economic Empowerment criteria (BEE).

Tourism Department spokesperson Blessing Manale says, “It needs to be understood in the context of the overall relief measures of government what this fund specifically does, it’s capped at R50 000 and it’s mainly targeted at small to medium and micro-enterprises, so the big groups would not qualify firstly, secondly because that droplet would not really be a big game changer in their operations. But for the small operators, a person with 3 staff members, R50 000 becomes quite big for the small operators.”

Five international air transport and tourism bodies have appealed to international financial institutions and donors to provide 10 billion dollars in funding to support the collapsing African Travel and Tourism Sector.




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