The Commissioner for the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), Teboho Maruping on Monday launched services to address the long queues at its offices across the country.
In a briefing hosted in Cape Town, Maruping launched a zero-rated mobile application as well as a free Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), better known as an SMS platform, to enable clients to access UIF services at any time, from anywhere, with no costs.
He has urged clients to begin the shift from the traditional way of transacting with the UIF.
Maruping said the launch of the SMS services and mobile application will promote greater self-service for clients, reduce long queues in the labour centres, and alleviate pressure on officials.
He believes the platforms would put more money in the pockets of clients because they would save on transport costs currently used to visit labour offices.
"There is really no better time than now to do this ensure that workers begin to access services at their fingertips.
"We are moving with the times to create a better, more capable UIF that leverages technology to respond to challenges on the ground and changes in the external environment.
"As the UIF, we recognise that most of our clients may not be in the best financial position at times when they need to access our services, and for this reason we have introduced additional service platforms that will cost them no money to access services," Maruping said.
Clients will also be able to check their UIF registration status, which would improve non-compliance with the Unemployment Insurance Act by employers who fail to register, declare, and pay contributions for their workers.
"I am calling on all UIF contributing workers to use these platforms to check their registration status while in employment. Do not wait until you are no longer working to do this because it will help you when you need to claim from us. If you find that your employer has not registered you but is deducting UIF, then immediately report this to a labour inspector so it can be corrected," Maruping added.
How does this work?
Simply dial *134*843# on any cell phone for free. Clients can submit a continuation of payment or check their claim and payment status instead of visiting a labour centre office.
The same services can also be accessed via the mobile application, which can be downloaded from the Google Play Store, the App Store for iOS phones, or the Huawei App Store.