On Monday 11 January, President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation and announced that the adjusted alert Level 3 lockdown will be extended. The National State of Disaster was also extended until 31 January 2021 which has many questioning whether the UIF TERS Scheme would be extended as well.
The effects of the lockdown over the last 10 months have been devastating for businesses particularly in the tourism, hospitality and liquor industries. Many were left unemployed or unable to work due to commorbidities. This also negatively impacted South Africa's economy.
Many South Africans have had no source of income for many months and the Democratic Alliance says that these people can be assisted by the UIF TERS Scheme.
The Unemployment Insurance Fund Covid-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) was funding which the government planned to distribute to help South Africans through the tough financial period brought about by Covid-19. This was initially meant to last for 3 months however it was extended as the country continued to battle with the coronavirus.
The Covid-19 TERS Scheme came to an end on 15 October and the DA argues that the government should still be compensating those people who are unable to work due to the restrictions put in place.
"As at 15 December 2020, the UIF had disbursed roughly R56 billion in Ters benefits for the period from the end of March to 15 October 2020. We know there is still money in the UIF pot, although it has been significantly depleted," said the DA MP Dr Michael Cardo in a statement.
Dr Cardo mentions that members of the UIF are getting full pay even though they are home while ordinary workers do not get to share the same circumstances.
"The DA calls upon the government to extend the Covid-19 Ters scheme for the duration of the adjusted Level 3 lockdown. The Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi, should communicate with the public on this matter urgently, as well as on the long-term financial sustainability of the UIF and what consequences there will be for government officials (and UIF officials in particular) who have been party to defrauding the UIF." concluded the statement by Dr Cardo.