12 things you should know about Ters fraud in SA

09 November 2020 - 16:36
Labour minister Thulas Nxesi would not be drawn to comment on whether officials helped companies and individuals to lodge illegal Ters claims, saying investigations are ongoing.
Labour minister Thulas Nxesi would not be drawn to comment on whether officials helped companies and individuals to lodge illegal Ters claims, saying investigations are ongoing.
Image: Esa Alexander

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is probing allegations of corruption and maladministration surrounding the Unemployment Insurance Fund's (UIF) Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (Ters).

The SIU investigation follows findings by the auditor-general that, among other things,  R1.3bn was paid to companies without them submitting invoices. Payments were also made to incarcerated, under-aged and dead people. State officials whose salaries were not affected by the lockdown also benefited.

The AG findings forced labour and employment minister Thulas Nxesi to suspend five senior staff at the UIF including its commissioner, CFO and COO.

In a series of written parliamentary replies, Nxesi has revealed 12 things about the alleged Ters fraud:

1. The five senior UIF officials who are on suspension earn a combined monthly salary of R450,551:

  • UIF commissioner Tebogo Maruping's monthly gross salary is R107,863;
  • UIF CFO Fezeka Puzi is paid R101,118;
  • Judith Kumbi, chief director of operations, is paid R94,252;
  • Maria Ramashaba, director: supply chain management, earns R80,089; and
  • Nompumelelo Mconywa, chief director of the labour activation programme earns R97,227.

2. An amount of R41.3m was irregularly paid to public servants, not eligible for Ters funding because they got their full salaries throughout the lockdown.

3. An amount of R119.8m was paid between April 1 and September 30 to individuals who did not qualify for the scheme.

4. Fifty-three applicants below the legal age of employment benefited from the scheme to the tune of R224,677.

5. One applicant whose ID number was the same as a UIF employee received R4,027.

6. Dead people - 113 of them - benefited from the scheme to the tune of R441,144.

7. Inmates - 26 of them - received R129,242 from Ters.

8. More than R30m was paid to people with invalid identity numbers, R69,419 was paid to 20 individuals who also got a  disability grant from the state, while R88,8m was paid to 22,611 people who received an old age pension grant.

9. There were four applicants with the same banking details as UIF employees who were paid R14,613 between them.

10. The UIF still has 729,900 applications to process with an approximate value of R3.1bn

11. Public servants - 9,572 of them - were identified as having irregularly applied for and benefited from Ters.

12. The UIF investment portfolio is worth more than R114bn. The fund has R59.8bn in liquid assets and R54.2bn in illiquid assets.

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