SIU recovers R71m in undue TERS scheme benefits

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has recovered at least R71 million from companies that unduly claimed from the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s (UIF) Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS).

This after the corruption busting unit commenced investigations into TERS funding in June 2021.

“The SIU was authorised by President Cyril Ramaphosa to investigate allegations made in respect of the affairs of the UIF in terms of Proclamation R.8 of 2021. The SIU investigated TERS payments to persons who were not entitled to receive such payments; submitted false, irregular, invalid or defective applications to the UIF, including the causes of such maladministration,” an SIU statement read.

Government set up TERS in order to assist struggling companies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To date, the SIU has recovered cash to the value of approximately R 71.4 million since it commenced with investigations. The figure includes R 9.9 [million] that was paid directly to the UIF by companies.

“Some of the companies that paid money directly to UIF includes South African Airways Technical, which paid back R8.8 million and RH Matjhabeng Hospital, a private hospital in Free State province, among others. The hospital paid back R488 458.21.

“The SIU investigation revealed that the hospital was not supposed to have applied and received TERS funds as their operations were not affected by COVID-19. The hospital management confirmed that it unduly received the funds and agreed to pay back the money to the SIU. Immediately after an agreement was reached, the hospital deviated from the agreement held with the SIU and paid back the money directly into the UIF account instead of the SIU,” the unit said.

The SIU said it has referred any evidence of criminality to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for possible prosecution.

“On 27 February 2023, the East London Magistrate Court sentenced Zimbabwean citizen, Admirer Sibanda to one year imprisonment and ordered that after serving the prison sentence that he be deported by the Home Affairs department to his country of origin. Sibanda pleaded guilty to the identity theft charge, which was used to commit TERS fraud,” the SIU said. –

Source: South African Government News Agency