Nxesi: Unrest in KZN, GP affected 75,000 workers and could lead to layoffs

The Labour and Employment Minister said government would assist them with the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

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 and Employment Minister Thulas Nxesi on Wednesday said it’s estimated that about 75,000 workers have been affected by the recent civil unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

Nxesi said this could lead to temporary layoffs or retrenchments.

But he said the government is committed to help workers and companies in distress, using a "basket of benefits" available through the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

Nxesi said his department was urgently drafting a special directive that will allow workers affected by the destruction and looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng to access benefits from the UIF.

“The spirit of the directive will be to ensure that workers who would not normally qualify for these benefits, due to the non-compliance of the employer with the act, that they are able to access these benefits.

“However, I should emphasise that it will not be a free for all, the criteria to determine who qualifies is going to be stringent and payment will be based on the resources available.

“Whilst it is our desire to pay all the affected workers it should be borne in mind that the funds and resources are limited.”

The special directive could be issued as soon as Friday, allowing for applications to start as soon as Monday.

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