The COVID-19 Temporary Employers/ Employee Relief Fund will be extended to August to match the extension of the national state of disaster.

Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Boitumelo Booi said the payments would continue until August 15.

“I must say, honourable members, that it gives me great pleasure to also announce that following due diligence and consultation with the UIF actuaries and in line with the President’s decision to extend the life of the Disaster Management Act until the 15th of August 2020, we have taken a decision to similarly extend the COVID-19 TERS benefit until the 15th of August 2020,” she said during a debate on the department’s budget vote via a virtual National Assembly mini-plenary.

The uncertainty of the extension of this fund had caused great anxiety among the public, as those who are still not working were unsure whether they would receive this assistance for the next month.

So far, UIF has paid out R34-billion to employers for distribution. The extension will keep in place all the same criteria that existed for the initial relief fund time.

False claim concern

Booi also promised that all valid claims still outstanding will be paid. In a statement, she explained that the slow pace of payments was a result of thorough investigation into each claim.

“We have been assailed in certain quarters – sometimes deservedly so –  for not paying on time but in reality, we have had to ensure that the system is not taken advantage of. We understand the frustration that some people may have experienced but given all the permutations, it has been absolutely imperative that we ensure that we disburse the funds to deserving people,” she said.

Booi explained that they have found thousands of claims for the dead, for workers who do not exist and for ID numbers that do not exist. According to government, close to 50 000 (48189) invalid ID numbers were used in April and this figure was slightly down to 43 176 in May.

Picture: Department of Labour /Twitter

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