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SIU may be roped in to audit employers' spending of TERS funds - UIF's Maruping

UIF commissioner Teboho Maruping said that the SIU may need to get involved given the complaints they’d received from workers, who said that although companies applied for the benefit on their behalf, some had given the funds to them in the form of loans or only half the money.

Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) commissioner Teboho Maruping. Picture: @UIFBenefits/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Unemployment Insurance Fund commissioner Teboho Maruping said that it may be necessary for the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to be roped in as it audits how employers spent billions of rands paid out as part of COVID-19 relief measures.

This follows calls by Cosatu on Monday that the president must sign a proclamation enabling the SIU to investigate allegations that some employers had been stealing the money from the COVID-19 temporary employee/employer relief scheme (TERS).

Maruping said that the SIU may need to get involved given the complaints they’d received from workers, who said that although companies applied for the benefit on their behalf, some had given the funds to them in the form of loans or only half the money.

However, he was equally wary that this could be a duplication of duties as the UIF had already started the process of appointing forensic auditors to look into how the R38 billion paid to companies and bargaining councils were spent.

"R38 billion is not child's play. It might be necessary that that independent wing be implemented and it's going to cost the state money when UIF is also putting together a forensic process but maybe the Hawks may have teeth."

Between April and June, 693,000 employers applied for the COVID-19-TERS relief, which benefitted 8.2 million workers.

The fund is also among the entities which will be audited by the Auditor-General on its usage of the COVID-19 relief funds.

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