UIF payments ease after recession
Cape Town - The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) paid
benefits of R5.3bn to 693 000 beneficiaries in the 2010/11 financial year up to
March, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant said on Tuesday.
This compared to 779 604 beneficiaries with a total value
R5.7bn the previous year, she told the National Assembly during debate on her
The fund experienced a slight drop in unemployment
benefit payments compared to the same period in 2009/10. This was
mainly due to the effects of the recession wearing off, she said.
"This once again highlights the importance of the UIF
as a safety net during times of unemployment and economic crisis."
The UIF had invested 68% of its investment portfolio
in central government, municipal and parastatal bonds and money market
instruments supporting infrastructure projects that would create and
The fund had identified a number of projects in pursuit of
the creation of decent work in South Africa. Its contribution comprised both commercial and social responsible investment. This was an
investment of R35bn of the R52bn portfolio, Oliphant said.
The UIF had also invested in the Industrial Development
Corporation through the purchase of a R2bn bond during 2010, with the aim
of creating and sustaining jobs.
These funds were available to start up businesses, provide a debt portion of expansionary acquisitions for existing businesses and facilitate working capital-funded expansions.
The UIF had also taken further steps by setting aside R1bn
over the 2009/10 - 2013/14 medium term period for schemes aimed at
reintegrating unemployed UIF beneficiaries back into employment.
The scheme involved participation by various sector
education and training authorities in re-skilling the unemployed in critical
scarce and soft skills.
The fund was also providing assistance to Productivity SA
through allocation of funding to the social plan. For the 2010/11 financial
year, it had committed R48m towards the plan.
"In the financial year 2011/2012, we aim to save 20 000
jobs through the social plan interventions," she said.
Turning to the Compensation Fund, which caters for those
injured on duty, Oliphant said the fund had processed claims and paid compensation
benefits in 2010/11 amounting to R2.1bn.
In terms of medical claims, the fund paid 186 563 medical
accounts in 2010/11 at an amount of R1.9bn, as compared to 135 829 at R1.5bn
during the same period in 2009/10.
Revenue of R4.5bn was raised in 2010/11. The increased
capacity in debt collection yielded positive results as R431m debt had been
recovered, she said.
The fund's total investments increased by R3.2bn from
R23.3bn to R26.5bn in the year under review.
The fund was aiming to increase the number of registered
employers in the current financial year to improve revenue collection through
"To promote return to work, develop skills and improve
functionality of injured and diseased employees, the fund has begun developing
an integrated comprehensive policy framework for rehabilitation, reintegration
and return to work of its beneficiaries."
This would require amendment to the Compensation for
Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, and the amendments were projected to be
promulgated in 2014/15.
Oliphant said the implementation of the Compensation Fund
turnaround strategy was at an advanced stage.
This was aimed at improving claims turnaround time, and
bringing Compensation Fund services closer to the people through decentralisation
and job creation.