SA unemployment fund Covid-19 relief disbursements hit R40bn mark
JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's Unemployment Insurance Fund has now disbursed R40 billion (US$2.3 billion) in temporary relief for workers impacted by a lockdown the government enforced to try and contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement late on Thursday, Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi said this amounted to 9,087,133 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme payouts to millions of workers through 779,429 companies that put in claims on their behalf.
“Today we reached that magical figure that we committed to make the lives of workers in the country easier by injecting hard cash into the economy through disbursements to our contributors," Nxesi said.
"We made a commitment of R40 billion and I am happy today to say we have kept our promise."
He said the department was working to ensure that all outstanding valid claims were paid as soon as all the required information was received.
The disbursements include R1.5 billion paid out to foreign nationals with valid permits who have also lost their regular income during the lockdown imposed from March 27, which initially saw most businesses completely shut down. Over R200 million has been paid to domestic workers.
The process has however been far from smooth sailing, with critics such as the main opposition Democratic Alliance pointing out that inefficiencies in the system have left some workers without relief for months.
Nxesi said the UIF would from Monday start processing July and August claims while ensuring that outstanding April, May and June claims "are also speedily settled".
While acknowledging that there was cause for reflection to find better ways to serve the public, the minister insisted that "under the most trying of circumstances, we have been able to rise to the occasion".
"Where there were mistakes, we have corrected them and are continually ensuring that we improve," he added.
- African News Agency (ANA)