#UnrestSA: Relief fund 'is not a salary holiday, it is meant for bad days' - UIF

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  • Fraudsters attempted to loot the relief fund meant to assist companies following July's unrest.
  • The UIF detected 8 000 fraudulent applications.
  • Affected companies are expected to benefit from the R5.3 billion set aside.

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.

READ | Unrest-affected employees may get up to R17 712 month in govt relief

"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.

VOSLOORUS, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 27: SANDF and SAPS
SANDF and SAPS conduct raids at Nguni Hostel in Vosloorus after July's looting.

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.

READ | Anatomy of a violent July: Data mapping shows unrest was part of tactical plan to shut down SA

"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.

ALEXANDRA, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 16: Chief of the So
Chief of the SANDF, Lieutenant-General Rudzani Maphwanya, leads an inspection on looted shops in Alexandra in the wake of July's riots.

"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.

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