Gauteng’s biggest labour centre shut down after Covid-19 cases
The closures could lead to further delays in the processing of applications for Ters, which the UIF administers
The payment of benefits from the UIF Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (Ters), which has already suffered from a spate of technical glitches, could have added delays due to the closure of two labour centres in Gauteng.
The province’s largest labour centre in Pretoria and another in Alberton were shut down for deep-cleaning on Thursday after staff tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
The closures could lead to further delays in the processing of applications for Ters, which the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) administers.
The relief scheme, which, by June 25, had paid out R26bn to 5.8-million employees, has been hit by technical teething issues, including problems with its registration system.
June applications for Ters were closed for a second time in less than a week because of a glitch in the system that shows applicants’ confidential information. After going live again on Monday, the site had to be taken down as problems that emerged last week with June applications returned.
On May 27, the UIF apologised for what it described as “a freak break in its network, which has affected plans to capture the May Covid-19 Ters online applications”.
On Friday, departmental spokesperson Teboho Thejane said the Pretoria and Alberton labour centres are expected to reopen on Monday under reduced capacity as some employees will be in isolation.
The department is “deeply concerned by the growing number of infected officials and the burden it puts to nearby offices”.
“We are painfully aware that the closure of some of our offices means overcrowding and long queues at the neighbouring ones hence, we apologise in advance for the inconvenience and ask our esteemed clients to be patient while they visit those centres.”
The business sector has lashed out at the administrative process to access Covid-19 relief benefits, saying it has proved to be “grossly unreliable” and cumbersome, resulting in some employees not getting them on time. The benefit provides for a minimum payment of R3,500 per month and a maximum of R6,700.
In June, several labour centres in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, which are among provinces with the highest Covid-19 cases, were shut down for cleaning after staff tested positive for the coronavirus. The UIF head office in Pretoria was also closed down in June and later reopened owing to a Covid-19 case.
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