Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi still mum on Ters benefits
Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi remains mum on whether the government will continue to pay Temporary Employer Relief Scheme (Ters) benefits to employees despite growing calls by political parties and labour unions to do so while the country is under lockdown Level 1.
Nxesi spokesperson Sabelo Mali said today the minister was not commenting on the matter until such time that the National Command Council on Coronavirus, chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa, makes an announcement on it.
Last month Nxesi refuted a media report stating Ters payments have been extended to November 15.
Nxesi said: “No statement has been made by me or my department on this matter. Any decision on an extension would be made only after extensive engagement with the government, Nedlac and the UIF itself.”
Following recent concerns by labour unions, the DA said it noted with concern reports the National Command Council (NCC) unilaterally decided not to extend the Covid-19 Ters benefit scheme beyond October 15.
DA spokesperson on employment and labour Dr Michael Cardo said the decision was despite the fact the national State of Disaster for Covid-19 has been extended to November 15 and many workers would not be able to work for full pay under Level 1 of lockdown.
“The minister must take the nation into his confidence and communicate clearly about the future of the Ters benefit.
“Organised business and labour have been in ongoing, careful discussions about the possible extension of the benefit at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).
“Their work has now seemingly been unstitched by the shadowy NCC, which has charged into the arena like a bull in a china shop and single-handedly imposed a fiat when the outcome should be the product of collaborative decision-making,” Cardo said.
He said that undermined good governance and underlined the arrogant and authoritarian nature of the NCC, which regarded itself above oversight and accountability.
“Since the government has seen fit to extend the lockdown (despite the disastrous economic consequences) and thereby deprived many workers of earning their full income, it has a duty to extend the Ters scheme in order to cover the shortfall.
“If the government wants to take away with one hand, then it must be ready to provide with the other,” Cardo said.