Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi says nearly 40 cases related to the COVID-19 Unemployment Insurance Fund have been opened.

He was briefing Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Labour in response to the Auditor-General’s findings on how COVID 19 funds were being misused.

On Wednesday, Nxesi announced that he had placed the fund’s management including commissioner Tebogo Maruping on precautionary suspension.

This followed the Auditor-General’s finding of illegal payments and other oversight problems in the payment of beneficiaries of COVID-19 relief funds.

Nxesi says some cases are already in court.

“Well some 38 court cases have been opened and charges have been laid against the perpetrators drawing on the evidence that we got from the AG’s findings as well as suspicious transactions picked up by our own risk management and some of these cases are already before the courts”

Addressing the media on Wednesday, Nxesi said UIF needs to strengthen its financial controls:

UIF resumed payment

At the end of last month, the UIF resumed payment of its COVID-19 temporary employer/employee relief scheme (TERS) benefits after payments were temporarily suspended pending an investigation by the auditor general into the payments system.

Some of the control ‘deficiencies’ picked up include inconsistencies regarding past payments made to people who are deceased, imprisoned, or who are minors.

UIF Commissioner¸ Tebogo Maruping speaks about the deficiencies that were picked up: