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Unemployment Insurance Fund
UIF receives third unqualified audit report
Wed, 15 Oct 2008 10:23
By Edwin Tshivhidzo
Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana has expressed satisfaction at the performance of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) which has earned an unqualified report from the Auditor General for the third successive year.
Speaking at the release of the 2008 Annual Report of the UIF in Pretoria, the minister said the fund had seen a successful turnaround.
The fund recently decentralised its services to its provincial offices to ensure the speedy processing of claims. This also resulted in better access to the services in the provinces.
UIF services can be accessed free of charge in any one of the 129 Labour Centres, 32 visiting points or 510 service points nationwide.
The UIFs call centre received more than 276 000 calls of which more than 97 percent were successfully attended to.
Mr Mdladlana said the transformation of the fund had positive impacts on key sectors of the population. For decades domestic workers have been one of the most vulnerable groups in our society receiving little protection from labour laws and with little in terms of a social support system should they lose their jobs.
Our decision to compel employers to register their domestic workers and to contribute to the UIF met with initial resistance from certain quarters but today it is widely recognised as one of the success stories of the fund.
We now have a system in place that is not only unique in world terms but also provides thousands of South Africans with security and peace of mind, he said.
The money paid out in unemployment benefits has enabled thousands of South Africans to gain access to bank accounts and to introduce them to the banking system.
I am convinced that the UIF was a major catalyst in effectively taking banking to the unbanked members of our society, said Mr Mdladlana.
Unemployment Insurance Fund Commissioner Boas Seruwe the fund had succeeded in meeting its primary objectives to render effective and accessible service to all stakeholders.
We are able to bring even more employers and employees onto our database, he said.
The funds most recent statistics show that it has 700 000 registered domestic employers and some 663 000 domestic employees who qualify for UIF benefits.
More than R3 billion was paid out to more than 500 000 beneficiaries in benefits.
Mr Seruwe had expressed concerns about non-compliance within the taxi industry saying were few taxi operators had registered with the fund.
There are 5000 registered taxi operators to the fund.
He also expressed concern about people who continue to receive money from the fund even when they had found employment.
Among the key priorities for the fund this coming year are intensifying communication efforts to make beneficiaries aware of service improvements; establishing a partnership with Productivity SA to identify projects designed to mitigate the effects of unemployment on workers; step up training, development and the placement of unemployed workers; and strengthen the prevention, detection and recovery of benefits paid in error.
The funds almost R30 billion in assets are invested through the Public Investment Corporation and ploughed back into, amongst others, rural and township development, the provision of infrastructure and support for emerging businesses.