Multiple organisations, including Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) and Trade Union Federation KATU are calling for the immediate administration for the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) due to alleged systematic dysfunction and deep corruption.
UIF contributors can claim benefits for several different circumstances. These circumstances include loss of income due to unemployment, illness leave, parental leave, adoption leave, reduced work time and maternity leave. The UIF also pays benefits to dependents of deceased UIF contributors.
BUSA believes the scheme must be placed under administration systemic dysfunction, corruption, and ineptitude threatening workers' benefit. In recent months UIF claimants have complained about long delays in receiving their UIF benefits causing great distress for people.
The ineptitude of the UIF to fulfil its promises has led to workplace disruption and had a negative impact on the employer-employee relationship. Of major concern is the fact that calls for the authorities to intervene have gone unheeded.
BUSA claims it's been engaging with the government and labour at NEDLAC to resolve these issues, while KATU highlights the plight of people waiting for months to access their funds.
The organisation says while Special schemes, including C19 TERS, Workers Affected by Unrest (WABU), and others designed to support affected individuals, whilst positive in their intention, remain to a significant extent ineffective as hundreds of thousands of applications remain unresolved.
Busa argues that the current UIF management appears unwilling or incapable of fulfilling its mandate and has introduced ineffective systems, such as the eCompliance platform, which have added risk to the business landscape.
They warn that failure to address systemic issues and alleged corruption could lead to increased frustration among employers and employees, jeopardising the fund's sustainability.
UIF Responds To Administration Calls
UIF Commissioner Thabo Maruping believes that placing the fund under administration is not an appropriate solution.
Maruping says efforts are being made to reduce long queues, including introducing technology like laptops and mobile passes to help claimants. He adds that new cybersecurity solutions have been introduced to detect unusual behaviour.
The commissioner suggests engaging a neutral third party to facilitate discussions between stakeholders. He emphasises ongoing efforts by the UIF to improve its operations and responsiveness.
Maruping acknowledges the increasing number of UIF claims, with a 400,000 increase in the last six months. The UIF aims to process claims within 48 hours in the future to reduce waiting times.