UIF paid millions to the dead, prisoners, children

Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi

Auditor-General of South Africa Kimi Makwetu has released a scathing report on the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF). The report has not only revealed that Ters payments were incorrectly disbursed, but it also stipulated how much was given to prisoners and the deceased. 

For instance, a claim of R4 027 was paid to an individual who happened to have the same ID number as that of a UIF employee. This is not the worst of it, however. A total of R169 900 was paid to individuals who were indicated as being in prison according to the Department of Correctional Services database. 

According to the report, individuals who were indicated as deceased as per Home Affairs database, received Ters benefits totaling R441 144.

The report said payments made to illegitimate beneficiaries, including deceased persons,  should be investigated.

“In addition, the matters should be referred to the newly established Fusioncentre committee for further investigation,” the report said. 

Ters benefit payments as at 31 July 2020 were recorded at R37.7 billion.

Regarding overpayments, the UIF used the incorrect number of days to calculate payments to 723 applicants amounting to a total of R10 215 765.

The UIF also paid R140 556 822 to 35 043 applicants who had already received benefits from other state institutions (including remuneration in some instances). 

  • NSFAS students who received stipends, were paid Ters benefit claims of R10 335 344; 
  • Beneficiaries by the SANDF received benefit claims of R327 638; 
  • Employees paid through PERSAL were paid benefit claims of R41 009 737; 
  • Disability grant recipients were paid Ters benefit claims of R69 419; and 
  • Old age grant recipients were paid benefit claims of R88 814 684.

A total of 4 161 payments amounting to R 30 071 248 were also made to individuals with invalid identity numbers when checked against the Department of Home Affairs database.

Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi held a media briefing on Wednesday 2 September. He said the auditor-general’s report on UIF Ters, pointed to numerous gaps, risks and inadequate controls and verification processes. 

“This has resulted in illegal payments, amongst others, to recipients of other state grants, students receiving NSFAS payments, public servants, and even inmates, deceased persons and minors. There is also evidence of overpayments (and underpayments) as well as inflated claims. I take these breaches very seriously,” he said. 

Nxesi also said the Director-General of the Department of Employment and Labour suspended UIF senior management: the CFO, COO and Head of the Supply Chain. 

“These moves allow for the SIU to conclude its forensic investigation, completely unfettered,” he said. 

UIF Commissioner Teboho Maruping was also suspended following the report. 

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