From fraud allegations to faulty systems - how the UIF Covid-19 relief fund made headlines

Labour & employment minister Thulas Nxesi alleged that some employers did not pay employees their UIF Covid-19 relief funds.
Labour & employment minister Thulas Nxesi alleged that some employers did not pay employees their UIF Covid-19 relief funds.
Image: Esa Alexander

Delayed payments, allegations of employers pocketing UIF payments meant for workers and investigations of fraud are some of the reasons why the Covid-19 Temporary Employment Relief Scheme (Ters) dominated headlines last week.

R5.7m alleged fraud

Twenty-five-year-old Tshwane resident Tshepang Phohole allegedly had R5.7m meant for Pretoria labour broker CSG Resources’ employees paid into his personal account. 

Sunday Times reported that Phohole, who is a warehouse employee, allegedly created an account on the UIF system using the company’s details.

Hawks spokesperson Col Katlego Mogale said the investigation has not been completed and therefore no arrests have been made. 

Durban company employees demand payments 

Employees of Durban-based underwear company Playtex demanded payments from employers, saying they had not been paid since the lockdown started and their salaries were cut by half.

They told TimesLIVE that some of the employees had allegedly been suspended for confronting the employer about payments. 

Another employee claimed they checked online and saw that their money had been paid to the company. 

Companies investigated for employee non-payment

Labour & employment minister Thulas Nxesi said he would appoint auditors to track companies that have not paid employees what is due to them.

He said the department also learnt that some companies were lending employees their UIF payouts, while others only paid part of the money and not the full amount.

Nxesi said the department puts employees first and in some instances paid out companies which were not compliant.

Business slams department for delayed payments

Business for SA Labour's Rob Legh said the department, and not the companies, was to blame for delayed payments caused by glitches in the IT system, which saw May payments only being processed after payday. The department had adjusted its system to pay employees directly after allegations that some companies were pocketing payments.

Legh said employees had been putting pressure on companies to pay them after Nxesi’s accusations.


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