Equality Court orders labour department to pay UIF to asylum seeker

08 July 2017 - 09:30 By Tmg Digital
A queue for Unemployment Insurance Fund payments at the Department of Labour in Port Elizabeth. The Department of Labour said its computer system cannot process payments to asylum seekers because it only accepts the 13 digit identity number of South Africans citizens. File photo.
A queue for Unemployment Insurance Fund payments at the Department of Labour in Port Elizabeth. The Department of Labour said its computer system cannot process payments to asylum seekers because it only accepts the 13 digit identity number of South Africans citizens. File photo.
Image: JAMES OATWAY

The Equality Court has ordered the Department of Labour to pay an asylum seeker his Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) benefits.

The South African Human Rights Commission said on Friday it welcomed the judgment handed down on Tuesday by the court at the Vereeniging Magistrate’s Court‚ particularly as the Constitution prohibits discrimination based on country of origin.

The Department of Labour said its computer system cannot process payments to asylum seekers because it only accepts the 13 digit identity number of South Africans citizens.

The court ordered the department to correct its computer system so that asylum seekers would get their UIF contributions.

It also awarded damages to the complainant and ordered the department to pay all UIF benefits to the complainant.

“The matter raises the prospect that many other non-nationals‚ who may have faced this problem‚ have not sought relief because they are not aware of their labour rights‚ or may be too afraid to confront the system to assert their rights‚” the commission said.

It added that the judgment was important in that it ensured the rights of marginalised people are protected.

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