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IT system shortcomings make UIF target of fraud

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Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) has urged the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to fix the shortcomings in the IT system used to disburse COVID-19 relief funds.

This, as the UIF system has become vulnerable to fraud and corruption by employees and employers who have made false claims amounting to millions of rands.

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.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, workers who have not been registered with the UIF can now also get the special payouts.

To address the system shortcomings, the committee has asked the UIF to submit a detailed plan on its migration to a better system that will avoid such loopholes that open it up to fraud.

“SCOPA has also asked the fund to submit a detailed report on the 16 cases where there were overpayments and erroneous payments into bank accounts. The committee hopes that all those that are found to be involved in the fraudulent payments will face consequences.

“The committee is aware that the Hawks are investigating the R5.7 million paid into an incorrect bank account. SCOPA has asked the UIF to submit a detailed report on this issue that it can use as a briefing note by Wednesday, 1 July 2020.”

Parliament's finance watchdog SCOPA, meanwhile, welcomed the disbursement of over R25 billion to four million workers who have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The committee, however, is concerned over the administrative delays in the processing of some disbursements, which have left almost one million employees in the lurch. SCOPA believes there should be a general overflow of communication between the UIF and the workers.”

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