LETTER: There is a ray of light at the UIF

20 April 2020

With all the doom and gloom about Covid-19 and the various well-deserved attacks on the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), it should be remembered that other sections within the department of employment & labour are in fact starting to perform, and have performed throughout this process.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has been exemplary in its efforts to ensure that disputes are properly administered and managed pending the opening of the department. I have received regular updates with regard to postponements and set down dates for disputes after the lockdown. The CCMA has always been the shining jewel within the department.

On the other hand, a part of the department that has long been dysfunctional is that of workmen’s compensation. There was an enormous attack on the Compensation Fund commissioner recently with regard to the non-payment of claims made by medical practitioners and various sections of health workers. This unfortunate period of non-payment lasted almost a year and eventually culminated in a tempestuous meeting that I attended with the employment & labour minister.

At that meeting, the minister promised action, and though harsh words were said, the meeting ended reasonably well. It is heartening now to report that at least some of the participants in that meeting are saying some of the payment claims have been fulfilled. Despite the enormous dysfunction in the administration of both the UIF and the Compensation Fund, we are at least seeing a ray of light.

Michael Bagraim, MP, DA labour spokesperson

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Source: Business Live at https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/letters/2020-04-20-letter-there-is-a-ray-of-light-at-the-uif/