Jobless man left broke after UIF computers go down

2010-03-30 00:00

BRIAN Hill (51) of Hayfields has been unemployed for six months and relies on the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to pay his bills and look after his family.

On Friday morning he went to the Labour Department on Langalibalele Street to sign for his unemployment funds, but was told the computers were down and would be offline until March 30. An oficial told him he would therefore receive his funds only in two weeks’ time.

“People have end-of-month commitments,” said Hill, who is worried about this late payment as it will jeopardise his relationship with the bank.

“I have a credit rating with the bank, but after this month’s credit rating I will have a black mark.

“Finding out you won’t get your money four days before the end of the month puts a real strain on the family,” he said.

Jay Anand, communications manager of the Labour Department in KZN, said in response to Hill’s complaint: “We are advising the client concerned to contact the regional manager of the Pietermaritzburg Labour Centre immediately so that the client can be assisted immediately as this is the first priority.

“If the systems were down, as the allegations indicate, the Labour Centre does have a manual back-up system in place to take UIF applications.

“We would like the details of the official to be provided so that the matter can be investigated and necessary action can be taken …”

Hill did not get the official’s details, but said there was just one woman dealing with all the UIF requests.

Hill was given the number of the regional manager and since Friday has tried to contact her on numerous occasions.

“When I have tried to call her, the phone rings once and then switches off. I also SMSed her on Friday afternoon.

“If she was at least concerned about my UIF, don’t you think she would have returned my SMSes or calls?” Hill asked The Witness.

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