The Department of Employment and Labour has said it welcomes a move by the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) to look into allegations of corruption and maladministration in relation to the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s (UIF) special COVID-19 TERS benefits.

This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa recently signed a proclamation, giving the green light for an investigation by the SIU into the matter.

“We have been working with the SIU in any event when the first probe was launched and we are just as anxious to get to the bottom of the allegations and to gain sight to all the facts and which would hopefully bring a close to this chapter. Over the last year, the UIF has had a major impact to the lives of workers in this country, distributing an unprecedented over R60-billion to help workers cope with the lockdown blues and we wouldn’t want to have this great work sullied by allegations of corruption and maladministration,” the labour department’s Director-General Thobile Lamati said.

TERS corruption: Any UIF officials implicated will be brought to book

The UIF has been engulfed in corruption and fraud allegations and so far, more than R2-billion has been returned to the coffers of the Fund. Lamati has vowed to take action against any UIF officials implicated in corruption.

“If any of our officials are found to have been part of the alleged corruption, we will make sure that they face disciplinary action and that the law enforcement agencies prosecute them. We cannot tolerate any corruption and we applaud the President for taking this step in fighting corruption”

The Department of Employment and Labour’s Director-General Thobile Lamati

The investigation will focus mainly on the payments of COVID-19 TERS benefits to people who were not entitled to receive such payments or submitted false, irregular, invalid or defective applications to the UIF, including the causes of such maladministration.

“The investigation will look at payments that dates back to 1 March 2020 and 1 April 2021 or that took place after 1 April but relevant to, connected with or involve same people, entities or contracts being investigated,” said the department.

The SIU has already been involved in investigation of TERS payments under a secondment agreement with the Department of Employment and Labour, which has since expired.

The investigation uncovered a number of irregularities in the TERS payments, which prompted the SIU to apply for a proclamation.

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Presh JM Reporter

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