Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has assets valued at R110bn, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant disclosed on Monday.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question by DA labour spokesman Michael Bagraim, Oliphant said that while the projected monthly contributions from September 1 2017 to August 31 2018 were estimated at R1.58m, the monthly payment of claims was projected to be R801,126 over this period.

These projections, the minister said, were based on the fund’s annual actuarial valuation report as at end-March 2017.

"Additional allowances for unemployment claims were made due to higher expected future unemployment rates," she said.

Noting that the unemployment rate had increased by 1.2 percentage points, according to the quarterly labour force survey for the first quarter, to 27.7% from 26.5%, Oliphant said: "It is expected that this trend will persist for another four quarters", for a total increase of five percentage points.

"As unemployment represents 80% of the total benefits paid by the fund, we expect a 4% increase in benefit payments overall."

Oliphant clarified that the estimates were based on the economic growth forecast of the Reserve Bank’s monetary policy committee of 1% for 2017, and 1.5% in 2018.

It was also assumed that total salaries on which contributions are based would increase at inflation plus the economic growth forecast as set out above.

Meanwhile, in a written reply to a parliamentary question by EFF MP Lehlohonolo Mokoena, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane said 147,187 jobs had been lost in the mining industry, from the 611,018 that existed in 1994 to the end of March this year.

The impact of mechanisation on job losses had been "very minimal", the minister said. "Most of the jobs were lost due to decline in ore grades, reduced prices resulting from weakened demand, all of which led to operations’ restructuring."

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