Unemployed people queue for UIF payments. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Unemployed people queue for UIF payments. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) Covid-19 relief benefit has paid out more than R24bn, which has benefited millions of laid off employees, deputy employment and labour minister Boitumelo Moloi told parliament’s standing committee on public accounts on Friday.  

UIF commissioner Teboho Maruping said those paid were employees who had been registered on the system by their employers.

Applications were processed and paid between 24 and 48 hours, if all the information required was submitted. Employers then had 48 hours to pay employees.

There were 128,769 employees from 748,125 companies not found on the database, which has resulted in just over R3.3bn in unpaid claims.

The UIF was in parliament on Friday to brief the committee on the disbursement of funds during the Covid-19 lockdown. SA has been in lockdown for almost three months now and this has had a devastating effect on the economy, resulting in the closure of a number of businesses and employees losing their jobs. 

Employment and labour minister Thulas Nxesi established the Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) in March, which is administered by the UIF, to provide relief for those in formal employment who are expected to lose their income due to the lockdown.

The benefit provides for a minimum payment of R3,500 a month and a maximum of R6,700.

There have been some issues around the payment of the benefits, with it taking a long time for the benefits to be accessed by the intended beneficiaries. Nxesi and the UIF have previously blamed employers.

Maruping said just more than R19bn was paid out in April and a little over R5.9bn in May. He said payments for May are being processed. 

More than R600m was paid directly to employees.

quintalg@businesslive.co.za