Two police officers and two suspected looters
A police operation in Soweto on 13 July 2021, amid looting (Photo by James Oatway/Getty Images)
  • The Destroyed, Affected or Looted Workplaces Temporary Relief Scheme, for workers losing income because of the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng unrest, is now open, in theory.
  • It will provide payments of up to R17,712 per month to replace wages lost because business premises are closed after looting.
  • The minimum monthly payment is R3,500.
  • The scheme is due to be reviewed every two weeks.
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Workers who aren't being paid after the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng are now, in theory, eligible for payments worth up to R17,712 per month, for as long as the government continues to see a need to support them.

In terms of the Destroyed, Affected or Looted Workplaces Temporary Relief Scheme, gazetted by employment and labour minister Thulas Nxesi on Tuesday, workers are due to get between 38% and 60% of their pre-unrest salaries, subject to a minimum of R3,500 and the top-end cap of R17,712.

If "financial considerations dictate", that sliding scale may be replaced by a fixed payment.

Workers are still eligible if they are being paid part salaries, but the total payments they receive may not exceed their pre-unrest earnings.

Employers who have closed businesses due to the unrest must apply on behalf of their workers, but payments may only be made directly into the accounts of workers, unless special arrangements are made.

Those employers must be registered with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), which will must have closed for reasons "directly linked to the destruction, damage or looting of its workplace," and must provide proof of a criminal complaint opened with the SA Police Service and that they have claimed against insurance, for those insured. 

The scheme does not use the normal UIF rules, which set maximum payments depending on how long an employee was in a job. Instead, all UIF contributors are fully eligible, as is anyone who should have been covered by the UIF but for a failure by the employer to register or pay its dues.

The scheme has not set end date, but is due to be reviewed every two weeks.

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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