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Key points from Nxesi's briefing on Makwetu’s UIF Covid-19 TERS benefit findings

Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu released a report on Wednesday on the real-time auditing that his office was requested by President Cyril Ramaphosa to do in order to track how funds were being spent.

FILE: Labour and Employment Minister Thulas Nxesi addresses a media briefing in Pretoria on level 3 lockdown regulations on 29 May 2020. Picture: @GCISMedia/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi on Wednesday briefed the media following the findings of the Auditor-General in relation to the COVID-19 TERs Relief Fund Audit.

Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu released a report, on Wednesday, on the real-time auditing that his office was requested to do by President Cyril Ramaphosa, in order to track how funds were being spent.

Makwetu’s teams focused on the R147.4 billion specially budgeted for COVID-19 relief, including support for businesses and employees, social relief of distress grants and the procurement of personal protective equipment and other goods and services.

The report covers spending from the start of lockdown in April to the end of July.

Here are key points from Nxesi's address:

OVER R40 BILLION PAID OUT

R41.6 billion has been disbursed in 9.5 million payments to laid-off workers, representing 822,000 employers. These benefits have supported millions of workers and their families. Normal UIF payments of R5.9 billion have gone out to over one million claimants.

CHARGES LAID FOR CORRUPTION AND FRAUD

On 24 August, the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) launched a rapid forensic audit into the AG’s findings on the UIF with a view to recovering monies illegally paid and charging the perpetrators.

Thirty-eight court cases have been opened and charges have been laid against perpetrators, drawing on evidence from the AG’s findings as well as from suspicious transactions picked up by the UIF’s own Risk Management Unit. Some of these cases are already before the courts and some perpetrators in jail.

BOSSES SUSPENDED

In light of the SIU probe, the Director-General of the Department of Employment and Labour has suspended UIF senior management including the commissioner, chief financial officer, chief operations officer and the head of the supply chain.

NATIONAL TREASURY TO ASSIST WITH FORENSIC PROBE

The National Treasury is assisting the Director-General of the department to identify service providers to conduct a forensic investigation into the overall workings of the UIF.

"We have requested National Treasury to deploy technical resources to the UIF to urgently implement the recommendations of the AG and to develop systems solutions to identified gaps and risks."

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