Members of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) have expressed frustration at the lack of answers from the Compensation and Unemployment Insurance Funds (UIF) regarding their poor performance.
MPs feel the two entities are not doing enough to improve their performance in order to better serve vulnerable workers. Both entities are yet to present their 2020 and 2021 financial reports to parliament.
Committee chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa was especially unhappy with the failure of the UIF to answer what he called basic questions.
For the past decade, the Compensation Fund has received disclaimer audit outcomes from the Auditor General. A disclaimer means the AG could not make head or tail of the entity’s finances.
The UIF hasn’t fared any better. It too has continuously seen the AG disclaim its books. The two organisations have now acquired the services of a consulting company to help them remedy the situation.
“We have brought in a team comprising about 20 personnel who were seconded from FTMG Africa with the relevant experience. This team has been focussed on implementing the action plan and ensuring that they assist funding, preparing for the upcoming audit as well assisting with the implementation and monitoring of the key controls that are needed to put in place the audit outcomes,” says Compensation Fund Commissioner, Vuyo Mafata.
UIF’s Teboho Maruping says they are using the same consultants. He adds, however, that they hope that by the time they have completed their assignment, their own officials will have learnt from them.
“We have about 14 chartered accountants in that space. We have about 3 low-level accountants that are on their way to becoming chartered and 5 graduates that they are using. All these people have been assigned to an individual in our environment for the transfer of skills. As they are doing their work, there is skill transfer there’s documentation and there are processes that are documented so that when they leave we have documented person that has tested and is used for our audit processes,” says Maruping.
Another issue that threatens the stability of the two funds is the so-called unlisted investments. Compensation has an exposure of just over R2 billion.
VIDEO: Scopa frustrated at what it calls the lack of accountability of the Insurance Funds:
UIF Commissioner Teboho Maruping informs the committee that they have made progress in finalising the disciplinary measures against some of the officials who were found to have contravened procurement processes.
Members were not happy, however, that the worst remedial action was a last written warning.
“The cardinal point in consequence management is a bit attitudinal. And in that instance, it does not necessarily carry that if any infringement has been dealt with through a particular process therefore the matters of trust have been restored. Once you deal with matters of decision making, more so which of value financial you need to assure and guarantee that individuals involved would uphold the maximum ethical conduct,” says ANC’s Sakhumzi Somyo.
Committee chairperson Hlengwa was also unhappy with the attitude of the UIF to issues of disciplinary measures, especially, since the UIF commissioner himself was one of the people who were disciplined.
“And maybe what we can do is to get the SIU to come and brief us on the cases of the UIF because we are saddled with the situation of people who are players and referees in matters of consequence management affecting them. And hence this kind of dilly-dallying or what I call the Stalingrad being put in place to respond to issues which are basic,” Hlengwa explains.