South Africa

Businesses, unions call for UIF overhaul

Thulas Nxesi

South African businesses and labour unions have asked the government to overhaul the nation’s R137 billion Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) after the agency failed to pay thousands of claimants.

The UIF has yet to pay about 87,000 people after they were temporarily laid off, according to Sanelisiwe Jantjies, acting director at Business Leadership South Africa, one of the nation’s biggest business associations.

The number of jobless individuals applying to access the funds has been rising daily, she said. 

Paramount among the host of problems at the UIF are “administrative issues, which are internal and deep-rooted systemic issues,” said Jantjies.

“So far, we have found that the efforts to modernize the UIF have either been contrary to its mandate or just taking us 10 steps back.”

South Africa hasn’t been able to generate enough jobs as rolling blackouts and logistical bottlenecks hold back economic growth.

A gauge measuring manufacturing sentiment in the nation fell to the lowest level in more than two years in September because of weaker demand and constrained production.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana is expected to warn of a widening budget deficit and declining revenues when he presents a review of South Africa’s fiscal position on Nov. 1.

BLSA has written to the Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi to intervene. The body has asked that the fund be placed under administration.

The labour department didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.


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