WATCH | Julius Malema and Pharmacy Direct CEO reach agreement after 'special visit'

EFF leader Julius Malema and Pharmacy Direct CEO Gawie Erasmas walking out to address the media after the party's 'special visit'.
EFF leader Julius Malema and Pharmacy Direct CEO Gawie Erasmas walking out to address the media after the party's 'special visit'.
Image: Twitter/EFF

Pharmacy Direct CEO Gawie Erasmus has agreed to return Covid-19 UIF funds to the department of employment and labour, after a “special visit” from the EFF.

On Wednesday, the party, led by its leader Julius Malema, visited the offices of Pharmacy Direct.

This after employees complained to the EFF's newly launched Labour Desk initiative that the CEO allegedly failed to distribute Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) funds to his employees.

Speaking on SABC, after meeting with the EFF, Erasmus apologised to staff and promised to return the money.

He said the monies were not paid because, due to the government gazette, employees cannot receive more than what they earn.

“In terms of the government gazette, it states that we cannot pay an employee more than what they would have normally earned. We've had a very good discussion and how we are going to work with that money that was applied [for] in their names. We've got an agreement on how we will in future make sure that their money is not affected in terms of the UIF,” said Erasmus.

Erasmus also apologised for a viral video of him where he can be heard dismissing his employees who refused to work without pay. He said the video was captured “out of context”.

“Each one of us gets under stress and we say things that we shouldn't. It is a pity that just that bit was captured. I think it a little bit of context but, as I've said, I do apologise for it and will make sure that we keep relations happy and sound as ever,” said Erasmus.

We reiterate our call on all companies that have claimed the UIF for their employees to immediately pay workers what is due to them.
Julius Malema

Malema said the EFF and Pharmacy Direct, with its workers, have put the matter to rest.

“Upon meeting with the EFF, the CEO unreservedly apologised to the workers for the attitude and conduct he displayed towards them, which was captured on video,” said Malema.

“The EFF and Pharmacy Direct, with the workers of Pharmacy Direct, amicably agreed that the money paid out from the Ters should be returned by Pharmacy Direct to the department of employment and labour.

“Also, that the employees whose identity numbers were used to claim the money from Ters must be duly accredited. This agreement was arrived at in accordance with the below-stated directive by the minister of employment and labour [Thulas Nxesi].”

Malema also warned that more “special visits” would be made to companies that have not paid the UIF.

“We reiterate our call on all companies that have claimed the UIF for their employees to immediately pay workers what is due to them. Otherwise, they too shall receive a warm special visit from the EFF,” he said.

TimesLIVE


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