The newly established relief fund to assist companies looted during the unrest has been infiltrated by fraudsters.

The Unemployment Insurance Fund’s (UIF) acting commissioner, advocate Mzie Yawa, said, of the 18 000 applications received on Wednesday, 8 000 share the same bank account.

The minimum amount to be paid is R3 500.

A few suspicious companies have been referred to SARS and the Department of Trade and Industry for verification.

“Our systems have picked up fraudulent activities and have not paid them. They have wasted our energy, which could have been diverted elsewhere. Some applicants’ bank accounts are non-existent,” Yawa said.

Yawa said the fund was meant to assist businesses looted and destroyed during last month’s unrest in parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

The companies will benefit from the Department of Employment and Labour’s R5.3 billion Covid-19 relief fund.

Yawa said they had also established the Workers Affected by Unrest relief fund.

“This fund is restricted to unrest in parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal only. The burning of trucks is not included. Our marching orders are talking to the period that saw the mass uprising and looting of businesses. If we must expand that, the department has brains to look into that,” Yawa said.

“We don’t want some employers who can pay their workers and claim from UIF. We want to assist those who can’t earn a living. This is not a salary holiday. The fund is meant for bad days. The process is for affected businesses and workers.

“Employers must apply for their workers. As a mechanism of truth, we don’t want to be seen as a department that is reckless with money.

“Employers must first open a case with the police before claiming from the fund. We also want a report from insurance companies on behalf of companies that have lodged claims, and details of the employer and employees,” said Yawa.

Ultimately, the UIF will pay directly into workers’ bank accounts.

Yawa said workers would be able to trace their applications.

Source: News24 | By Ntwaagae Seleka | 14 August 2021