Vodacom zero-rates UIF site for COVID-19 benefit claims

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Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub.
Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub.

Mobile carrier Vodacom has zero-rated the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) uFiling Web site to help employers and employees that have been affected by the COVID-19 lockdown to claim for benefits.

The telco says zero-rating the Web site will assist those affected to get information about the UIF and/or apply for UIF benefits, including the COVID-19 TERS Benefit – without incurring any charges on its network.

The UIF recently announced it had committed R10 billion for payouts this financial year to deal with COVID-19 lockdown cases. By 8 April, UIF had received 22 000 COVID-19-related claims but expects this number to increase as more companies cut employee salaries to survive.

With the COVID-19 lockdown in full swing, the UIF temporary employee/employer relief scheme will pay employers the cost of employees’ salaries for up to three months.

Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub explains the rationale of zero-rating the UIF Web site: “Vodacom is working with the UIF to give our customers free access to this important Web site so that customers can access accurate information and process claims without using any data or airtime.

“Online applications will limit the number of people who physically go to the labour centres, thereby contributing to government’s call for social distancing to manage the spread of the virus. Customers can access the Web site through our free ConnectU portal in addition to a host of other essential services.”

Last week, Vodacom announced it will donate 20 000 smartphones plus 100 terabytes of data and 10 million voice call minutes to the National Department of Health to support efforts in combatting the spread of COVID-19 in South Africa.

Yesterday, Vodacom also announced a R500 million network upgrade, which it says will help ease congestion during the lockdown.

The network upgrade includes accelerating the installation of smart energy management.

Commenting on the latest initiative, UIF commissioner Teboho Maruping says the partnership with Vodacom will certainly assist in ensuring UIF beneficiaries continue to access UIF services even during the lockdown.

“This partnership with Vodacom could not have come at a better time. We are delighted that Vodacom will enable our beneficiaries to apply online at zero costs and that is big for us because with the closure of Labour Centres, applications through uFiling are the only option for our beneficiaries,” says Maruping.

Vodacom is one of the many companies that in recent weeks have been at the forefront of assisting government to fight the COVID-19 pandemic through various initiatives.

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