Vagueness of wording and failure to consult within industry sectors are two of the areas of criticism that have been levelled against the government in its handling of administering the UIF TERS relief scheme since its inception in 2020.
Unforeseen consequences resulting from lack of understanding of the businesses inside the various sectors and their value chains – these are the real-life results of this thinking. Appeals, re-submissions, and adjustments mean long drawn-out periods before workers get the relief to which they are entitled.
Glenton de Kock, CEO of the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI) spoke to Tourism Update on July 20 about the new fourth extension of TERS. He said before the latest adjusted Level 4 lockdown in the country, there was an understanding that more people would need to be helped by TERS. “Throughout, the definitions have been vague and unclear, especially with regard to the MICE sector. The Covid Working Group Collective, working under the auspices of the TBCSA, is doing as much as they can to make sure that each sub-sector within the tourism economy, including the MICE sector, is correctly defined.
“The SIC codes have been problematic and this has resulted in many appeals. The Collective believes that many problems could be solved if associations were allowed some space to work with the UIF on the definitions of the value chains. There is possibly too much left to ‘the discretion of the UIF’ in Annexures A and B, where the various sectors are defined.
“Because the industries involved need the UIF to have better understanding of who is in each cohort of the ecosystem, the Covid Working Group Collective has requested that we be allowed in to work with the UIF, to smooth the path. We sent a request for a space to work with them three weeks ago and have had no response to date. This includes the need to clear all the appeals that have been outstanding prior to the opening of the current window. We will keep requesting this,” said De Kock.
“Our industry needs this continued support of UIF TERS, so we owe it those employees to get it right for the many who have not been able to work this past year,” he said.
The new fourth extension of TERS, is deemed to apply to the industries set out in Annexures A and B, from March 16 to July 25, 2021.
Annexure A lists various venues whose employees should be eligible:
- Venues hosting auctions,
- Venues hosting professional sports,
- Venues where social events are held
- Venues hosting concerts and live performances
- Any industries that form part of the value chain of the above as per the discretion of the UIF.
Annexure B lists businesses whose employees should be eligible:
- Museums, galleries, libraries, and archives
- Gyms and fitness centres
- Swimming pools
- Bars, taverns and shebeens
- Public parks
- Domestic and international air travel
- Rail, bus, and taxi services
- E-hailing services
- Sale, dispensing, distribution and transportation of liquor
- Beaches, dams, river, and lakes
- Passenger ships
- Hotels, lodges, bed and breakfast, timeshare facilities, resorts, and guesthouses
- Conference, dining, entertainment, and bar facilities
- International sports, arts, and cultural events
- Any industries and business establishments that form part of the value chain of the above or stand alone, as per the discretion of the UIF.