COSATU is alarmed that government is allowing the UIF to become a slush fund for corrupt elements inside and outside the state

The Congress of South African Trade Unions is calling on government to urgently deal with the allegations of serious corruption and wasteful expenditure at the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and its Labour Activation Programme.  The latest media reports highlighting possible inflated prices, open corruption, and dubious courses in the millions of rands are deeply alarming.

These reports come after the UIF was found not good enough by the Auditor-General because of inefficient systems and susceptibilities to both internal and external looting. It is also disheartening that this comes after allegations emerged a couple of months ago that UIF was fleeced of about R1.7 billion through some questionable investments, including the R2,7 billion which was reported to have been flagged by the AGSA’ s office. These are big sums of money which should be paid to deceiving workers who have no income replacement.

This is more depressing considering that the relief given to workers during the Covid-19 lockdown and KZN riots, not only were funds capped due to limited funding but some workers have not received their payments due to inefficient ICT systems. Covid-19 has shown the need for the UIF and other labour market institutions to modernise their systems.

Workers should not have to spend days on end queueing to receive their money due to inefficient systems.  These outdated systems which are not integrated with other key government systems are an open door for looters to capitalise.

It has become clear that the department of employment and labour cannot be trusted any longer to be a dependable custodian of this strategic labour market institution. The UIF is fast becoming a slush fund for corrupt elements in both government and the private sector.

The South African government is unconcerned and unresponsive to UIF issues because it does not even contribute to the fund. This also puts to question its legitimacy to be a caretaker of workers funds. 

The Federation will be engaging with other labour federations and stakeholders to engage on a roadmap to overhaul the UIF, and ensure it is an efficient institution that can provide the efficient services to workers. We will also be calling on President to put UIF under Administration with certain conditionalities to protect this institution against further looting both in government and private interests.     

The Auditor-General, the Special Investigative Unit, the National Prosecuting Authority and the Police need to be brought in as a matter of urgency to ensure that all the funds are accounted for and those who have their hands in the till are held accountable.

Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)

Tel: 011 339 4911
Cell: 060 975 6794