Nxesi vows to hold Covid-19 relief fund wrongdoers accountable

Johannesburg – Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi said that he would not rest until every payment made through the UIF Covid-19 benefit relief fund was accounted for.

On Wednesday Nxesi unpacked findings relating to the Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (TERS).

Nxesi’s briefing comes after Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu released a report on real-time auditing that his office was requested to do by the president to track how funds were being spent from the start of lockdown to the end of July.

Makwetu found evidence of fraud and corruption in the spending of government’s multi-billion rand Covid-19 relief package and made several recommendations.

Nxesi said that the Auditor-General has recommended that the UIF and the department work with other state organs and law enforcement to investigate every illegal action and risk identified.

He added that more than 30 cases have been opened.

“Some of these cases are already before courts and perpetrators in jail and some given bail and so on,” he said.

He said he would wait for the outcomes of these processes before announcing further plans to take action against individuals and entities.

The probe found evidence of over-payments, underpayments and inflated claims and Nxesi stressed that he took these breaches extremely seriously.

Nxesi said that in addition to the suspension of the UIF commissioner, its chief financial officer, head of supply chain and chief operations officer were also suspended to allow for the investigations to continue unfettered.

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