This is the first part of a two-part series looking at the latest shenanigans at the Unemployment Insurance Fund and how workers are being defrauded.
Just after the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) debacle during the Covid-19 pandemic and its inability to run its administration to disperse the Ters monies to employees of South Africa, we were alerted to an issue where the UIF, once again, was about to enter into what looked like the most fraudulent of activities.
Readers might recall that the UIF had lent money from its investment in the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) into a few companies which had lost all their investment money.
It must be remembered that the monies that the UIF has belongs to the employees of South Africa. The monies invested in the PIC on behalf of the UIF come from employers and employees and not government. The UIF holds these monies in trust for the employees who might need it in times of disaster or when they are retrenched or dismissed.
The UIF is also supposed to cover employees who die whilst on duty and who might take maternity leave. These monies are often desperately needed, especially in times when it is difficult to find another job.
We are told by the Department of Labour that they have sufficient funds invested with the PIC, and therefore, there is no need to panic if the Department
takes a long time to pay out these monies. To this day, I get hundreds of calls from individuals who are still waiting for their UIF, sometimes years after dismissal, and there are still those who contact me via email to tell me that their Ters monies from Covid 19 are still outstanding. The administration is shocking, to say the least.
During December 2022, it came to my attention that the UIF, under the leadership of the Commissioner of the UIF, had wanted to invest in a scheme conjured up by Mr Mthunzi Mdwaba, who was the chairperson of the Board of Productivity South Africa.
Productivity SA is another state institution under the Department of Employment and Labour. Productivity SA is a sister entity to the UIF.
Mdwaba appears to have come up with a brilliant scheme to get money out of the UIF, which was invested with the PIC on behalf of the employees of South Africa.
The UIF was about to invest just over five billion rand into an entity that, although formed, was not doing any work whatsoever.
On investigating the company that they wanted to invest in, it appeared that nothing was there except the entity. This scheme sounded like an absolutely brilliant way in which to be able to defraud the public of the investment money in the PIC.
This scheme was brought to the attention of the Minister Thulas Nxesi. At a portfolio committee of Parliament, I had the opportunity to question the Minister about this weird investment. This was done at the end of 2022.
I reminded the Minister of previous investments undertaken by the UIF into companies that disappeared, and the UIF was unable to recoup its money. I reminded the Minister that these monies don’t belong to the administration but belong to the workers of South Africa.
It must be said that we’ve seen similar schemes under this present government, where monies have disappeared into thin air.
The Minister then promised at the end of 2022 that they would set up an investigation.
* Michael Bagraim.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.
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