Thulas Nxesi. Pictue: TREVOR SAMSON
Thulas Nxesi. Pictue: TREVOR SAMSON

Workers who received payments under the temporary employer/employee (Ters) benefit have not been able to get unemployment insurance fund benefits when they were subsequently retrenched.

And the problem is likely to become more acute as the department of employment & labour expects that there will be mass retrenchments in future as more companies go under.

The Ters benefit is a form of assistance by the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to distressed companies that have been unable to pay their employees their full salaries because of the negative affect of the pandemic.

Labour minister Thulas Nxesi acknowledged the problem in reply to a question in the National Assembly on Wednesday during a question-and-answer session between MPs and ministers in the economic cluster.

African Christian Democratic Party MP Wayne Thring said his party had received several complaints about this problem.

Nxesi said the problem arose after the system rejected two claims as a case of fraud. The department was looking into the issue and was reconfiguring the system to deal with it.

Replying to another question, Nxesi said that about 700,000 claimants for the Ters benefit had not been paid. This was due to a number of reasons including employers who had received payments but had not handed the money over to their employees and also due to foreign workers who did not have proper identification documents.

The department was trying to work with employers to deal with these problems, Nxesi said.

“We have made the undertaking that if people are owed the money, they will have to be paid after we have done a proper investigation and we have satisfied ourselves of the proper documentation. It will be dangerous to pay if the documentation is not proper.”

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