- The controversy surrounding payments of the Covid-19 UIF TERS scheme continues with new information exposing massive gaps in controls
- Minister Thulas Nxesi says evidence needs to be tested on overpayments, underpayments and even inflated claims made by the system
- A recent audit has found that underage citizens, prisoners and even deceased individuals had enjoyed payments from the scheme
The audit on the UIF TERS scheme has found concerning gaps in preventative controls including that the system allowed for a single applicant to submit claims on behalf of multiple employes.
Nnana Sekoati, an executive in the office of the Auditor-General, explained that the system failed to check why one person was submitting multiple claims:
"The UIF does not corroborate whether these representatives are duly authorised to represent the employers or bargaining councils they purport to be representing. There was also no appropriate system validations of the input data submitted by employers and bargaining councils as the basis of claims payment to prevent the processing of non-eligible and invalid claims."
The audit found that the system would incorrectly calculate TERS benefit payments as well as inadequate verification of employer details and salaries.
Applicants who are below the legal age of employment, duplicated ID numbers and payments to invalid ID numbers were also discovered during the audit in addition to payments made to deceased and imprisoned citizens, reports News24.
The audit had discovered irregular payments were made as follows
- R224 677 was paid to 52 applicants who are underaged
- R441 144 was paid to deceased individuals
- R169 900 was paid to prisoners
- R140 556 822 was paid to 35 043 individuals who also received benefits from other state institutions
Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi says that evidence on overpayments, underpayments and inflated claims still needs to be tested with promises that his department is hard at work collaborating with law enforcement agencies to get to the bottom of the situation.
Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that Nxesi had announced the suspension of the entire Unemployment Insurance Fund management board in the aftermath of the damning report.
Nxesi expressed the hope that the suspension would provide law enforcement with the opportunity to explore allegations of irregularities at the fund.
The TERS fund had been established to assist workers who received no salaries or cut payments during the Covid-19 lockdown which prevented some businesses from operating.
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