To curb snaking queues at labour centres, the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF)is urging employees to go online when trying to access its services.
The UIF is a public entity of the Department of Employment and Labour, whose mandate is to provide short-term relief to workers who qualify for benefits.
In a statement, the UIF says its online tools include the uFiling system, which allows employees to submit claims, check their status and submit enquiries.
It has also introduced a free USSD service to make it easier for clients to check their UIF status. Dialling *134*843# on any mobile phone will open a menu with several options, including claims and payment status, employee registration, payment continuation and general enquiries.
UIF director of compliance Malesela Makgamatho says: “The USSD service only requires an active mobile number. This is especially beneficial for those who do not have direct internet access.”
UIF commissioner Teboho Maruping notes the entity has also introduced ICT-kitted buses that move around provinces, to assist clients in deep rural areas to access labour services.
“Additionally, we have installed free WiFi at all our labour centres so that clients can utilise the online system with ease when visiting our offices. Furthermore, 3 000 marshals and 3 000 officials have been appointed to assist clients with online applications.”
According to Maruping, the idea behind the online system is to give total control to the applicant, so they can take charge of every step of their application.
“The online system will help us to deal with the issue of incorrect documents and fraud, and help applicants to keep their documents safe once they have submitted online.
“We want to take a different approach on how we work as a fund. With the technology we have developed, we want to eventually eliminate visits to our offices entirely.”