Dec 9, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Government officials, private companies and individuals abused UIF Covid-19 TERS benefits

The special investigation unit uncovered a criminal syndicate Wednesday that involved government officials, private companies, inmates and the use of ID numbers from dead people to illegally claim Covid-19 TERS payments from the unemployment insurance fund.

“The research shows a lot of collusion between government officials (UIF) and private companies and individuals. It is very clear that this was a deliberate systematic approach taken by those involved to reduce the UIF’s funds, and we are dealing with it accordingly, “said Andy Mothibi, chief solicitor of the SIU.

Mothibi and his team of investigators briefed the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) of an investigation into the TERS of unemployment insurance paid during the pandemic.

A senior investigator asking to be identified as Mr Le Roux shared MEPs informed that on August 22, the Minister of Employment and Labor Thulas Nxesi referred allegations of irregularities related to the UIF to the SIU.

Nxesi requested the SIU to submit the auditor’s report on the Review findings on TERS paid during the pandemic. The SIU opened an investigation to review the information or record of TERS payments.

Le Roux said the SIU was able to gather sufficient evidence in support of a national UIF proclamation, which was signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in April.

“During the period under review, a total of 13,447,006 employees received TERS payments or benefits from the UIF. These employees were associated with at least 1,156,565 companies and employers, and a total of R 57,384,148,010 has been paid out by the UIF since the program was launched. ”The SIU investigated government employees and SA National Defense Force employees, inmates and ID numbers of the dead were used to make relief fund claims.

The first phase of the investigation, which began on June 1, focused on individuals receiving TERS benefits while in employment received from the state. Completion was scheduled for November 30th. Phase two should begin immediately after completing the first phase. Le Roux said there were at least 107 ad hoc matters in addition to the first phase of the investigation.

In the first phase, the SIU identified at least 6,000 employees in 24 government departments in different provinces.

< p> Le Roux said, “In the Eastern Cape there were at least 501 affairs in 11 departments worth R 106 million. There were 491 affairs in the Free State involving eight departments worth R4 million. In Gauteng, 1,664 people were identified in 10 different departments for an amount of R15.6 million and in KwaZulu-Natal 769 cases were identified in 11 departments for an amount of R9.8 million. ”

In Limpopo, 168 cases identified, with seven departments worth R 1.7 million. He said there were 282 affairs in Mpumalanga, the seven departments with an estimated value of 2.26 million. In the Northwest there were 339 people in six departments worth R69.8 million identified. In the Western Cape there were 939 people in four departments valued at R1.1 million.

In the national departments there were 657 affairs in 24 government departments valued at R114.4 million. “That was at the time no unemployed, “said Le Roux.

The SIU also investigated a case involving a Thabo Abel Simbini, a private director of a company called Impossible Solutions. Le Roux said Simbini filed 6,000 TERS claims valued at R111 million on behalf of his company. Criminal proceedings have opened and Simbini is expected to appear in a Pretoria court on December 5.

Regarding detainees, Le Roux said seven people have been identified who have benefited from the TERS. “This refers to identity theft by foreigners who have used the ID cards of detained SA citizens to apply for work in SA units.” The SIU is referring these matters to the National Prosecutor and the inner. Regarding the cost of the investigation, Le Roux said that phase one, including the 6,000 government employees, is estimated at R351 million. “The estimated cost of completing the investigation is Rand 40 million. This includes the 87 resources (personnel) in 10 provinces. ”

While MPs praised the SIU for the work it did, Scopa chair Mkhuleko Hlengwa said that there were clear systemic flaws that required the committee’s attention .

“We have to invite the UIF next week so that we can get a broader view of the systems and interventions that are in play now, as far as we are dealing with corruption and possibly Covid-19 helped uncover the fault lines. ” that usually haven’t got the attention we should [be] giving, ”he said.