Suspension of UIF commissioner Maruping, 2 other execs lifted

The officials were suspended nine months ago after the Auditor-General probed the COVID-19 TERS scheme and found that there were irregularities with payments due to lapses in verification systems.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Eyewitness News can reveal that the suspension of three Unemployment Insurance Fund executives has been lifted.

Labour and Employment Department Director-General Thobile Lamati said that two of the officials, including Commissioner Teboho Maruping, would, however, undergo disciplinary hearings.

The officials were suspended nine months ago after the Auditor-General probed the COVID-19 TERS scheme and found that there were irregularities with payments due to lapses in verification systems.

Lamati told Eyewitness News that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) found that some supply chain policies were transgressed.

"The managers concerned did not exercise the power that they have in terms of ensuring that we don't incur fruitless expenditure, so those mainly relate to that."

While he could not detail the nature of the charges against the commissioner and chief financial officer, Fezeka Puzi, he explained that the department endeavoured to conclude the disciplinary matters quickly to restore leadership stability at the UIF.

"With any disciplinary hearing, it brings uncertainty, so we want to make sure that we conclude this process as fast as we can."

Chief operations officer, Judith Kumbi, was the only official who was cleared of any wrongdoing by the SIU and has since returned to work.

Meanwhile, the chief director for labour activation, Nompumelelo Mconywa, and the director for supply chain management, Maria Ramashaba, were still on paid suspension pending the completion of the SIU probe.

The Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme was devised to protect jobs by paying workers’ wages during the COVID-19 hard lockdown that forced businesses to shut down.

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.