The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) on Wednesday apologized for a “freak outage” in its network which means it is struggling to process May’s applications for help from the government’s Temporary Relief Fund (Covid-19 TERS).
The system has been tested since last week and should have come into effect on Tuesday. A damaged fiber cable between the UIF’s office and that of the State Information and Technology Agency (Sita) hampered this plan.
“We are doing everything possible to ensure that the problem is still resolved today so that we can begin processing the May applications immediately,” TFAho Maruping, UIF’s commissioner, said.
The UIF has also undertaken to try to catch up as soon as possible and its teams are ready to start working once the system is online.
“We have received a myriad of complaints about this and we understand that it is frustrating for our clients and partners. I want to assure anyone who is negatively affected by this that the problem was out of our control, but that we will fix it.
“There has been a lot of [network] traffic over the past two months due to the lockdown. In general, we could keep our heads above water under the circumstances and there is no reason why we should not work even harder to catch up, ”Maruping said.
The UIF will make an announcement as soon as the system works again.
Democratic Alliance speak out
The DA, meanwhile, says while this situation is a ticking time bomb, Labor Minister Thulas Nxesi is without a trace.
“When the benefit finally arrives, it’s going to be too late for many people. Workers and employers have accounts to pay now. They can’t wait, ”Dr. Michael Cardo, the DA’s spokesman on labor and employment, said.
Cardo says the delay in the system means many people will not earn any income at the end of May.
“For most salary earners who rely on the Covid-19 TERS benefit, this is far more than just inconvenience. It is the cause of desperation, depression and in some cases financial ruin. “
Cardo says it takes a long time for claims to be paid out, and the latest developments are not predicting anything good.
In response to a parliamentary question, the department said 195,000 employers and 2.5 million workers had received about R14 billion in benefits by May 21 – on the other hand, many did not receive a cent.
More than 76,000 employers and 559,000 workers’ claims – worth about R2.3 billion – were rejected because they are not indicated on the UIF’s system or simply because the fund rejected them without explanation, Cardo says.
He also says unions should be sued by the minister on behalf of workers.
The DA also asks Nxesi to say how much money is left to pay workers, whether the UIF has the ability to handle claims for the rest of the lockdown period, and why it seems as if very few foreigners have been paid so far.