The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has noted the Cabinet decisions in response to allegations of corruption and the mismanagement of PPE funds. Like all government policies and programmes, we will judge these pronouncements on their outcomes rather than on their intentions.
What is disappointing though is that the government has done nothing to deal with allegations that some employers have been stealing the money from the UIF Covid-19 Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS).
The Federation has consistently protested the fact that some employers have received the money from UIF, but they have failed to pass it on to workers, as expected.
The UIF Covid-19 Relief Fund memorandum of understanding required all employers who receive funds on behalf of workers to immediately pay the money to workers immediately. Furthermore, those employers were required to submit proof of payment to the UIF within seven (7) days. Very few employers complied and submitted this proof of payment to the UIF.
We reiterate our call for the President and relevant investigative authorities to deal with this problem. The office of the Auditor-General and SARS must be engaged to investigate this and deduct such funds from employers who are guilty.
The President needs to issue an urgent proclamation for the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to look into serious allegations of UIF Covid-19 TERS Funds having been pocketed by some of these unscrupulous employers.
COSATU is encouraging all unions and workers to work with us to expose and open cases against employers who have stolen workers monies from the UIF TERS Fund. We also want those who are failing to pay the money they deduct from workers to UIF to be held accountable.
Swift action is the only thing that will prove that the government will not tolerate corruption and opportunism during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The Federation is also alarmed by the number of Section 189 retrenchment notices that have been submitted by companies that are receiving government bailouts and support. We have repeatedly called on the government to make these bailouts and support conditional on these companies agreeing to a moratorium on retrenchments.
Job figures and economic projections paint a dire picture of the pending gloom and suggest that in the coming months more and more people will be plunged into poverty. There is a drastic need for a change in attitudes, all-round, if we are to deal with the current unemployment and avert an economic depression.
For the government to avoid an economic catastrophe; it needs to show some fortitude and stop pandering to an indifferent private sector. The biggest challenge for this administration is to wean itself off the neoliberal diet
The general government services, which played a key role in helping the country to navigate the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 have been cut down by the National Treasury, therefore, suffocating the economy.
While it’s imperative for our government to prove its ability and willingness to meet its financial obligations in full and on time to many lenders; it is also important for it to prove the same commitment and ability to meet its service delivery obligations to the citizens.
It will not be enough for this administration to only rid the country of the Gangster’ capitalism and corruption that has become endemic, but it also needs to rehabilitate itself from its addiction to neo-liberalism.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794