30/11/2017 08:37 SAST | Updated 01/12/2017 16:10 SAST

'UIF Is A Scam!' – Angry Citizens Bemoan Benefit Nonpayment

People are complaining about nonpayment of benefit money – benefits that they are legally entitled to – from the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

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Many South Africans are caught between jobs at times, or take maternity leave and have to depend on money from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to survive while they do not have a stable income.

However, Lelani Korczyński van der Westhuizen says the labour department put her through immense stress when she was unable to access money from the UIF, despite qualifying for UIF payments.

One year and five months later, she still hasn't received any money –– or even communication –– from the department.

"UIF is a scam, and we should not pay it, as it does not do anything for you," she said angrily on Facebook.

"It took me about a year to pay off the debt from having no income for four months."

Ane Cromhout is another victim of government nondelivery.

She paid a company to help her with her UIF application. However, her documents were not submitted by the company.

Cromhout then took it upon herself to submit the documents a few weeks before her baby was born. She submitted the final documents after her baby's birth.

The fund then claimed she had not submitted all the documents required, so she resubmitted, but this time her request was not approved because "signatures were missing". Cromhout resubmitted the documents again, despite having proof that all signatures were in fact filled in on her second submission.

Two years later, she still has not received the payment.

"I know they just decided I didn't deserve to get my maternity UIF. It took me about a year to pay off the debt from having no income for four months," she said.

Also Read: New Parental Leave Bill: What You Need To Know

Makhosonke Buthelezi of the department of labour claimed that the department cannot be solely blamed for delays.

"The main cause is noncompliance by employers," he alleged. "While they pay UIF, they fail to submit the employment information every month as required by law. This results in UIF officials having to follow up with employers to get the information, thus causing delays."

Buthelezi said that there is going to be a new act, which he insists will improve the situation.

"Employers are going to be forced by the new Unemployment Amendment Act to declare employees monthly," Buthelezi said.

He added that the department was working on improving systems to ensure a seamless process.

"Internally we are upgrading our IT infrastructure and systems, reviewing processes, improving our online application portal [u-filing], decentralising the processing of applications and training our staff to improve service delivery."

The Unemployment Insurance Act and Unemployment Insurance Contributions Act apply to all employees, excluding those working less than 24 hours a month. It also excludes learners, public servants, foreigners working on contract, workers who get a monthly old age pension and those who earn only commission.