UIF to strengthen control systems in bid to eliminate fraud

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The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) says it will intensify its control systems and continue to work closely with law enforcement agencies to eradicate fraud claims.

The fund is facing stiff criticism from many unemployed South Africans who say they are having to wait a long time to receive their money.

The UIF says many companies failed to register their employees with them and that is is dealing with forms that were incorrectly completed. The fund says it is engaging with organised labour and companies to address these challenges.

SABC News visited the offices of the Department of Labour in Braamfontein, Johannesburg and found them already busy by 07:00 with about 300 people already in the queue outside the department’s UIF offices. The office says it can only deal with 200 applications a day and officials will most likely not be able to process all the forms in a business day.

Some of the people, frustrated, hungry and jobless – had been queuing since 04:00. “These people start late and there is no substations anywhere else, we can’t get going anywhere else we have to come early so what time do we leave homes,” says one of them.

“These people are talking their own time, we came here at 5 am this morning. Usually they give out the tickets around 07:30 and they gave us tickets 09:00, where were they all the time we have been waiting here, its cold, nobody cares,” says another person.

“There was this guy he just came out now and said people who are not staying around must go back to their nearest places,  This is our place we are all South Africans even if you are not staying in Joburg CBD they must help you,” says another.

“You stand in the queue, you stand in the queue and they don’t say this is 200 numbers another people should go out, we have been standing in the queue,” adds another South African waiting outside.

In the video below, unhappy workers take to the streets to force employers to pay their UIF claims:

Desperate citizens say the UIF’s online system is unfriendly. People who have applied to the fund say they have to keep coming back because money does not reflect on their accounts. Fraud has also hampered the UIF’s efforts to pay many unemployed South Africans.

“Its my second time now, I’m unemployed two months now, I’m here twice now and nothing is happening, I’ve not received nothing yet,” says a citizen.

“So we have been coming back you just don’t come once and its because of documents sometimes you find it’s only a digit that is wrong then you need to go back fix it and then come back again,” says another citizen.

“I didn’t even get a notice they juts terminated me and they told me on the 30th of June I no longer have a job. They have already evacuated me, I’m still waiting I’m already packing my things so that I can have some little bit of cash so that I can hire transport to take my things somewhere else,” says another unemployed citizen.

No backlog issue

Despite the long queues and the rejected claims, the UIF says it does not have a backlog  problem. UIF Commissioner Tebogo Maruping says employees are submitting incorrectly completed forms.

He says they launched an application this week to fix this problem.

“As far as UIF is concerned we do not have any backlogs for COVID-19 beneficial claims. For example an employer applied for employees but in the amount paid column the employer puts the exact salary amount. We give you three columns to fill in. It’s the normal salary of the person, and the column where you must insert the amount that you have paid your employees during the lockdown.  And what employers are doing they are putting the same amount of employees salary and what they have paid. And when we process we see a zero balance,” says Maruping.

The Commissioner says many companies also failed to register their employees for UIF.

“People who are employed in the country we have about 16 odd million who are employed but those with UIF we have only 11 million which tells you there is about 4 million South Africans who are not insured and as a result when they apply we cannot find them on our data base. And those are the areas where people term as backlog,” says Maruping.

The UIF temporarily relieves workers when they become unemployed. Workers who contribute to the Insurance Fund can claim if they have been retrenched. UIF can only be claimed for 12 months.

Maruping says COVID-19 has helped them register more South Africans on their system.

The UIF has also recorded 112 fraud cases – 40% were misunderstandings between the employer and employees.  He says they will follow up on every cent that was paid to companies and how much of this was transferred to employees through the new “Follow the money project.”

In the video below, UIF introduces measures to eliminate fraud: