SARS must immediately take over administration of Covid-19 Ters benefit from UIF

With two weeks to go to payday, the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has processed only 136 applications for the Covid-19 Ters benefit. This is a disaster in the making. SARS must be brought in to assist or take over the administration of the scheme immediately.

To date, the UIF has received 36 000 applications for the Covid-19 Ters benefit, 15 755 of which are apparently duplicate applications, and only 16 534 of which are in the correct CSV file format. On Saturday, 23 000 companies were sent emails to resubmit their applications in the correct file format.

While it is obviously important for all applications to be valid, many small business owners do not have the IT expertise to comply with UIF’s onerous filing requirements for the Covid-19 Ters benefit. Moreover, they are finding it difficult to get rapid feedback or assistance from the UIF because the institution’s systems are overwhelmed.

In the ordinary course of events, SARS collects UIF money paid over by employers and transfers it to the UIF. SARS has the IRP5 and IT3(a) records of all employees on their systems.  They also have bank account details for all these employees, and the employer.  The IRP5 and IT3(a) both carry the details of UIF payments on the face of the document.

SARS needs to be brought in immediately to ensure that employers and employees will have cash in the bank come month-end.