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Covid-19 Ters relief payments resume

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Ters relief payments have been resumed after a 24 hour delay.

File image. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi African News Agency

THE UNEMPLOYMENT Insurance Fund (UIF) has resumed payments of its Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) benefits after a 24-hour delay.

The delay was apparently necessitated by the need to address some control deficiencies in the CovidTERS online payment system.

“This is the usual step whereby, if the UIF picks up problems whether in relation to governance or to further stress-test and enhance the system, the payments are suspended for a certain period so that the matter can be dealt with,” UIF Commissioner Teboho Maruping said on Wednesday.

He added that as part of a wider Covid-19 audit in state organs, the UIF was also subjected to an audit by the Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA).

“The AGSA team observed some control deficiencies and anomalies in the system, which prompted us to delay payments so that these could be addressed.”

Maruping pointed out that the suspension of payments was not new. “We do it all the time when we pick up certain anomalies that increase risk or expose us to potential fraud.

“There are instances where, at the behest of our internal audit and risk management units, we have stopped payments to certain companies when certain deficiencies were identified. This is part of our governance framework.”

He stated that as the AGSA performed its own audit and made certain observations, the UIF addressed them.

“Sometimes we have to stop our activities to correct the situation, as we did with the 24-hour suspension,” Maruping said, adding that he recognised the possible negative impact this might have had on millions of workers who rely on the Covid-19 Ters benefit for income.

“As the UIF management, we recognise and acknowledge the possible negative impact this might have on millions of workers who depend on these cash injections. That is why we would like to appeal to our contributors to bear with us because these intermissions are designed to make the fund stronger so that it can continue doing its work of providing sustenance to workers in their time of need,” he said.