Calls for Sars to help UIF with relief applications
Cosatu said the administrative capacity of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) administrative capacity had been augmented to some extent, as it faces a barrage of claims related to the Covid-19 crisis and its own logistical shortfalls.
Cosatu’s parliamentary representative, Matthew Parks , said the trade union federation was assured on Friday that the staffing component at the fund’s hotline have been increased from the usual 55 to 200, as it tries to process applications for emergency relief to employees of companies in distress.
Parks said it was with relief that Cosatu heard from applicants on Friday that they were “getting through” to the call centre after countless reports of being rebuffed, confirmed by its own representatives who were stress-testing the system.
The accessibility of the UIF, which has R40 billion in reserve for employers and employees who find themselves under duress at this time, has been a hot-button topic since South Africa entered into lockdown.
Cosatu has repeatedly flagged problems with rolling out the Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) But this week, concern was expressed from opposite sides of the political spectrum that it lacked the capacity to process a flood of applications.
Cosatu and the DA echoed each other’s call for the SA Revenue Service (Sars) to step in and help with the administration of the benefits, as companies claimed that their applications were not captured because of technical difficulties.
DA labour spokesperson Michael Cardo said it was of great concern that in two weeks the UIF had only processed 136 applications for the Covid-19 Ters benefit.
“This is a disaster in the making. Sars must be brought in to assist or take over the administration of the scheme immediately. To date, the UIF has received 36000 applications for the benefit, 15755 of which are apparently duplicate applications, and only 16534 of which are in the correct CSV file format. On Saturday, 23000 companies were sent emails to resubmit their applications.”
The UIF failed to respond to requests for comment.
Cardo and Cosatu had argued for Sars to step in because employers paid contributions directly to the revenue service, which then disbursed these funds to the UIF.