Unemployment Insurance Fund and COSATU Gauteng Unveil Digital Platforms to Combat COVID-19 TERS Fraud

Unemployment Insurance Fund and COSATU Gauteng Unveil Digital Platforms to Combat COVID-19 TERS Fraud

In a groundbreaking move, the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) in collaboration with the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in Gauteng launched digital platforms on November 29, 2023. These platforms empower workers to actively participate in the identification and reporting of potential COVID-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) fraud.

Objective and Significance:

The digital platforms, introduced as a strategic augmentation to the UI’s “follow the money” initiative, aim to empower workers in uncovering any fraudulent claims made against their names by employers. This collaborative effort signifies a proactive approach to recover misappropriated and misdirected COVID-19 TERS funds.

Quote from UIF Commissioner Teboho Maruping:

“These platforms will significantly amplify our ongoing efforts to reclaim COVID-19 TERS funds that have not reached deserving workers. The ‘follow the money’ project has already led to successful convictions, and these platforms are the next step in engaging workers directly in our fight against fraud.”

Achievements of the “Follow the Money” Project:

  • Convictions: The “follow the money” project has resulted in 20 successful convictions, with individuals receiving lengthy prison sentences for COVID-19 TERS fraud.
  • Funds Confirmed: The UIF has confirmed R29 billion of COVID-19 TERS funds disbursed to employers, with further confirmations expected to conclude in 2024.
  • Repayments: The project triggered the repayment of R2.4 billion of COVID-19 TERS funds by employers directly to the UIF.
  • Investigations and Recoveries: Collaborations with agencies like the SIU, the PA, and the AFU in the Fusion Centre have led to the recovery of R61 million and over R760 million, demonstrating the effectiveness of the “follow the money” approach.

Worker-Centric Platforms – “Thusa Babereki”:

The newly launched platforms, dubbed “Thusa Babereki,” consist of an online portal and a WhatsApp channel with automated menus. These user-friendly interfaces are designed to facilitate seamless reporting by workers.

Quote from Commissioner Maruping on the Launch:

“These easy-to-use platforms are a necessary mechanism that allows workers to play an active role in bringing unscrupulous employers to book. Working together with organised labour, I am confident that workers from across the country will get to know about, and use these platforms to report COVID-19 TERS fraud that was committed by employers.”

How to Access the Platforms:

  • WhatsApp Channel: Add the number 067 411 0241 to any WhatsApp account, send a greeting message to initiate interaction.
  • Online Portal: Access the portal here.

Stakeholder Engagement and Closing Remarks:

The launch took place during a stakeholder engagement session at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park. Union representatives from diverse industries participated in discussions on workers’ issues and a pragmatic way forward. COSATU Gauteng Provincial Chairperson Amos Monyela urged union representatives to make use of the platforms to report employers.

Quote from COSATU Gauteng Provincial Chairperson Amos Monyela:

“If this launch and this programme is going to assist, I think then we will be able to find those unscrupulous employers. As COSATU in Gauteng Province, we have set up teams at our head office in Braamfontein who will guide and assist workers in the use of the platforms.”

Appreciation and Future Collaboration:

The event concluded with Commissioner Maruping expressing appreciation to COSATU Gauteng for its partnership. “The UIF is pleased to work with COSATU Gauteng and its affiliates on this project as the majority of COVID-19 TERS fraud was committed in this province,” said Maruping. “The use of the Thusa Babereki platforms will intensify our efforts to close the net on those who have stolen from the working class.”

In aligning with technological advancements and promoting transparency, these platforms mark a pivotal step toward empowering workers in the fight against COVID-19 TERS fraud. The collaboration between the UIF and COSATU emphasizes the sh


Related Posts