The IFP in KwaZulu-Natal supports the announcement by the KZN MEC for Economic Development, Ravi Pillay, that they are advocating for the Temporary Employer / Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) to be extended.
The stance taken by the Province of KwaZulu-Natal on the issue of the TERS is much appreciated, and the KZN MEC for Economic Development has our full backing. The IFP supports any initiative that will bring much-needed relief to the tourism-related businesses that were badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, although the IFP believes that the tourism industry was the hardest hit, other sectors of the economy must also benefit.
While the IFP supports the TERS, it is concerned about the reports of corruption associated with this scheme. This scheme was seen as an opportunity for greedy officials to dip their hands into the Covid-19 cookie jar. Abuse of the TERS was enabled in part by some private firms, which claimed benefits on behalf of unknowing employees or deceased people and then pocketed the cash, or used the benefits for their own purposes.
Further to this, 75 criminal cases were instituted by the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) in relation to fraud around TERS payments during the Covid-19 pandemic. The IFP wants to know: what progress has been made with these cases, and how many people – including company directors – have been arrested so far? Failure to punish corrupt people will set a precedent implying that corruption is tolerated. Those who stole funds meant for people unemployed due to the Covid-19 pandemic must be punished, and ‘named-and-shamed’ in public. They must also pay back all the money they stole.
The IFP urges the national government to support the proposal for the TERS to be extended, so that businesses can survive and jobs can be saved.
Mr Otto B Kunene, MPL
IFP KZN Spokesperson for Economic Development
083 417 9944