Cape Town - A year ago the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) received some 250 000 requests a month. This has now almost doubled to 500 000.
"This is testing our capacity," said UIF commissioner Boas Seruwa at Thursday's National Council of Provinces.
Because of the economic downturn the fund paid out R900m more in the 2008/09 financial year than in the previous financial year.
This financial year more than 1.9m claims to a value of R3.8bn have been paid out. In the entire 2002/03 year R2bn was disbursed.
Seruwa says the UIF can currently handle the increase in claims because the fund has a surplus of R22bn. "But we pray that the recession does not continue. It's now taking us longer than the usual five weeks to pay out claims because we can't keep up."
Claims on the Compensation Fund have at the same time increased by 35.6%. This fund compensates workers who sustain injuries on duty.
Corruption relating to the tariffs that employers pay has increased. These tariffs are based on how dangerous the working environment is.
In the building sector, for example, the risk is higher for workers building multi-storey buildings than for those who, say, construct RDP houses or residential property. Many employers are currently trying to have themselves classified as having risky environments.
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