THE Zimbabwe Community in South Africa, an organisation involved with the day to day welfare of Zimbabweans in that country, has revealed that the Zimbabwean migrants living in the neighbouring country have benefitted from the R434 million Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) meant to aid migrants against the effects of Covid-19.
The global pandemic forced countries to implement lockdown restrictions which saw many employees involuntarily out of work, a situation which negatively affected their livelihoods.
The UIF payments were intended as a stop-gap measure for three months or until such time that lockdown restrictions are eased and the economy re-opens.
In a statement, spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Community in South Africa, Bongani Mazwi Mkhwananzi said their engagements with respective bodies in South Africa yielded results as no policy discriminates the payments of UIF to migrants.
“The Zimbabwe Community in South Africa sought the services of the International Labour Organisation office in Pretoria, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) to resolve the UIF Covid-19 payment to migrant workers. It has been brought to our attention that the UIF Commissioner has said that no policy discriminates the payment of UIF funds to migrants registered and contributing to UIF,” said Mkhwananzi.
He said at least 114 000 have so far received the fund payout.
“All due processing and verification of contributions are made without any discrimination to all beneficiaries of UIF. According to the information given to us, the UIF has so far paid R434 million to migrants with 114 000 migrant workers having received this payout. Migrant workers who are yet to receive their payment or were rejected are advised to deal with their employer,” said Mkhwananzi.
Mkhwananzi urged those who have not benefited or had challenges in accessing the fund to approach the nearest labour centres.
“If they do not find any recourse, they need to approach the nearest labour centre and submit their details (migrant worker details) and those of the employer. The labour centre will assist in resolving this matter,” he said.
He, however, explained to CITE that for migrants to benefit from this basket they should have the required documents.
“Migrants need to be on a work permit or asylum document for them to benefit. Their employer should also have registered them for the UIF contributions,” said Mkhwanazi.
“The UIF gives short term relief to workers when they become unemployed or unable to work because of maternity, adoption leave or illness. It also gives relief to the dependents of a deceased contributor. In this case, it is assisting all the employees affected by the lockdown.
“All the employees, as well as their employer are responsible for contributing to the UIF. The amount of the contribution due by an employee must be one percent of the remuneration paid by the employer to the employee.
“The employer must pay a total contribution of the two percent (one percent contribution by the employee and one percent contribution by the employer) within the prescribed period,” he said.