5 February 2021

A Corruption Watch (CW) report released on 1 February 2021 reveals that there is considerable mismanagement of Covid-19 Temporary Employer / Employee Relief Scheme funds (TERS), after receiving over 100 reports of alleged corruption. Corruption Watch is a South African non-governmental organization which monitors incidents of corruption that involve public resources, trade union resources, lottery and donated charitable resources in South Africa. The report supports the findings of the Auditor General in the second special Covid-19 audit report, released on 9 December.

At the onset of Covid-19 many international institution did warn that there would be large scale corruption and told the governments to be careful about the management of the subsidy. In South Africa there had been widespread corruption in the procurement of personal protection equipment and other essential medical supplies needed by hospitals for Covid-19.

CW received 126 whistle-blower reports, mostly from employees, whose salaries had been significantly reduced, and were not paid the Covid-19 benefits given by the government. According to the reports received by CW, this corruption was prevalent in both public and private sectors. It is surprising that this could happen in the public sector.

In 77 out of 126 reports, employees complained that the employers had pocketed the TERS subsidy. In other cases employees said that they were paid less than what was given as subsidy by the government.

Some employers deducted Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) contribution and did not pay to the government but pocketed the contributions. In some other cases the employers did not deduct or pay the UIF contributions. Both category of employers could not claim Covid-19 TERS benefits from the government.

This sort of employers bribed the Department of Employment and Labour officials to avoid being caught.

Daily Meveric reported