Corruption Watch find cases where there not just mere administrative errors, but rather deliberate acts amounting to fraud and misappropriation of resources
Durban – BRIBERY, corruption, fraud and breaching of labour laws were the making of Corruption Watch’s report released on the the Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) UIF.
In the report, the organisation said it investigated reports where there was evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
In these cases it found not just mere administrative errors, but rather deliberate acts amounting to fraud and misappropriation of resources.
These cases were being referred to the Special Investigating Unit for the Fusion Centre to investigate.
IFP parliamentary chief whip Narend Singh said he fully supported key recommendations in this report.
“In addition to rooting out corruption, it is essential – as per the recommendations – that the Department of Labour pay specific attention to their systems and processes so as to ensure that the people they serve receive assistance efficiently, and timeously.”
The report revealed that Gauteng had the highest number of corruption reports at 57 and KwaZulu-Natal the third highest with 12. Implicated persons included payroll officers, finance personnel, managers and employers.
Inspectors were also reported to have been taking bribes to ignore labour rights breaches, some employers in the report were alleged to have claimed the Ters using ID numbers of employees that were no longer employed by them while others were alleged to not be contributing to the insurance fund for their employees.
Gerhard Papenfus, chief executive of the National Employers Association of South Africa, said there was merit in all the allegations against some employers as there were those who went under the radar.
“We were approached by unions about an employer who hadn’t paid the Ters to the employees and upon investigation we found the employer had not received these. Some employers are waiting for April and May Ters still,” he said.
In September, the auditor-general found significant issues with UIF Ters which resulted in irregular payments to the tune of R161 million as well as fraud.
DA shadow minister for employment and labour Michael Cardo said employers who deliberately withheld the Ters from employees should face legal consequences.
“They have acted illegally and unethically, and contributed to misery and suffering at a time of already acute hardship inflicted by the pandemic and the lockdown. Equally, many of the UIF own’s administrative processes and financial controls have been found wanting. The UIF and the Department of Employment and Labour also need to get their house in order.”
The City of Joburg was the municipality with highest volume report when it came to corruption reports, followed by Tshwane with 18, Cape Town with 14, eThekwini with nine and Ekurhuleni with five.
The report was based on the experiences of 126 whistle-blowers from April to November.
The private security sector had the highest number of reports while construction had the least with five.