Having already paid out R16.5bn (€855.66m) in COVID-19 Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS), the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has vowed to ensure that outstanding payments are promptly processed.

About 3.2 million workers represented by 279 111 employers have benefited from the UIF’s R16.5bn. “Of this amount, R442m (€22.92m) has been paid through direct deposits to 99 269 workers’ bank accounts. The claims were submitted by 6 374 employers,” said a spokesperson from the Department of Labour, which oversees the UIF.

“Payments this time around should be a lot quicker as the UIF already has the details for most of the claimants. As we indicated when we addressed the country last Friday, we are committed to ensuring that to the extent possible, the department through the UIF plays its role in shielding workers from the worst effects of the pandemic,” said Minister of Labour, Thulas Nxesi.

“We are doing this by providing cash payments to workers who may have found themselves left in the lurch as a result of lockdown. The payments have been significant in saving at least three million workers from poverty,” he said.

Nxesi added that there had been significant improvements in terms of payment turnaround time from claim submission. “Already, with all the information supplied, the UIF was able to pay some claims in 24 hours at best or 48 at worst which is far more than when we started around April 16,” he said.