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10 November 2020
Minister Thulas Nxesi
Minister of Employment and Labour
Dear Honourable Minister
Unilateral implementation of suspension of TERS benefits
The abovementioned matter refers.
It has been reported that you informed NEDLAC that no further TERS payments will be considered for any period after 15 September 2020.
It will be an understatement to say that this came as a shock and surprise to everybody, especially in view of the fact that this announcement flies in the face of both regulations gazetted and media statements issued by your Department.
The Government Gazette published on 7 September 2020, stated explicitly that TERS benefits will be available until the end of the State of Disaster or until withdrawn by yourself, neither of which has transpired. This was confirmed in a media statement, dated 30 September 2020, issued by your Department.
Many businesses, who are still not able to operate fully due to the gazetted regulations by your Department, acted on these representations and made advance payments to employees since 15 September 2020, labouring under the impression that they will be refunded by the UIF.
The about-turn by your Department, in our view, unlawfully, now places the survival of many of these businesses at risk and therewith the employment of many employees. The dire position of both employers and employees is indeed exacerbated as a result of this decision.
Honourable Minister, it is incumbent upon you, both legally and morally, to confirm that TERS benefits will be reinstated for the limited categories of employees as set out in the Government Gazette. The burden on the Fund should, in any event, have reduced significantly as many employees have returned to work.
We look forward to your urgent response and hope that this matter can be resolved swiftly.