Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Luyolo Mkentane’s article refers, in which he quoted my letter to the editor more than six weeks ago regarding outstanding Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (Ters) payments (“Foreign nationals crying foul over nonpayment of Covid-19 Ters benefits”, August 30, and “Subtle xenophobia at the UIF?”, July 13).

The outstanding claim remains just that, and we are still finding it impossible to contact anyone at the UIF who can assist, or who shows the slightest inclination to do so. I am led to believe there are still thousands of companies in a similar position.

The final paragraph in Mkentane’s article quoted UIF spokesperson Makhosonke Buthelezi saying there is no discrimination against foreign workers. The facts appear to disprove this. The same article quotes Thembinkosi Mkalipi of the department of employment & labour saying there is no reason for an employee who is registered with the UIF and has contributed to the fund not to be paid.

In our case the employee has been registered with Sars and department of home affairs for over 12 years and has paid monthly UIF and PAYE contributions throughout this time, as shown by his annual IRP5 returns.

Surely it cannot be difficult for the UIF to check the records of the other two departments, assuming that all three have computerised systems which in some way interface. It should be possible to do this in a matter of minutes, not the year it has taken so far without resolution. If such validation process throws up a discrepancy it should be incumbent on the UIF to inform the claimant.

This also raises the question of what happens to the UIF contributions that are paid to Sars every month along with PAYE and the skills development levy. Does Sars pay these amounts to the UIF along with analyses/reconciliations, or is a lump sum just paid across from time to time with no record as to the makeup? In which case, as crazy as it sounds, the UIF would have no record as to what contributions have been made in respect of any particular employee.

I suspect from discussions with many other parties that there may well be many millions of rands due but still unpaid from the initial UIF Ters programme. I have no intention of writing off our claim and sincerely hope others in the same boat are of a similar mind.

Derek Pryce
Via email

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