‘False’: No decision – yet – to extend corona UIF payments into November, Nxesi says
- Labour and employment minister Thulas Nxesi denounced as false a report that UIF TERS payments had been extended into mid-November.
- The original report has since been removed without comment.
- Extending the lifeline payments for employees hit by lockdown would require "extensive" engagement, says Nxesi.
- Nxesi this week warned that the Unemployment Insurance Fund's pockets are not bottomless.
- President Cyril Ramaphosa this week announced the extension of the special Covid-19 unemployment grant – but only for three months.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
There has been no decision, so far, to extend the Covid-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) into November, employment and labour minister Thulas Nxesi said in a brief but strongly-worded statement on Friday.
An article by Independent Online saying that such an extension, to 15 November, had already been announced, was "false", Nxesi said.
"Any decision on an extension would be made only after extensive engagement with government, Nedlac and the UIF itself."
That article has been removed, without any comment or correction, though a summary version was still available elsewhere on the Independent website.
Nxesi this week warned that the UIF's pockets are not bottomless, raising the possibility that the fund may have to turn to government to ask for money should the number of retrenchments in the economy exceed its ability to pay.
President Cyril Ramaphosa this week announced the extension of the special Covid-19 unemployment grant, of R350 per month, for those who receive no other form of assistance from the government, for another three months.
Many have called on the government to turn that grant into a form of universal basic income, making it permanent and increasing its value.
But a further extension would be difficult given "the stressed nature" of South Africa’s national finances, Ramaphosa warned.
The TERS programme has paid out more than R42 billion to employees who had their income reduced in some way due to Covid-19 and the associated lockdown.
The UIF has some R50 billion still available to it, Nxesi told Parliament this week.
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