SA HR news roundup: DoL traces Covid-19 employer fraud, 121 employers handed to the Hawks

The Department of Labour reveals that R228 million was fraudulently claimed by employers for Covid-19 relief.

Strike season continues in South Africa, with Transnet unions rejecting a mediator’s offer of a four percent wage increase. Financial services provider FNB partners with Snapplify to make e-textbooks and e-learning available via eBucks. Meanwhile, the Department of Labour places a rand amount on Covid-19 employer fraud.

Unions reject Transnet wage offer
Union leaders at state-owned enterprise Transnet said they have rejected a four percent wage hike offer from a mediator appointed to break a deadlock in a dispute over wages and have applied to strike.

The United National Transport Union (UNTU) and the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) told Reuters their members had rejected the offer, which was one percentage point higher than Transnet had previously put on the table.

A prolonged strike at port and rail freight network could affect key exports of automobiles, grain and mineral ore. Transnet in April said the difficult economic environment and its impact on operations meant it was not able to meet the pay demands made by the unions.

FNB offers e-learning through reward platform
Customers could use FNB eBucks can now buy e-textbooks via Snapplify so they could access affordable e-learning resources.

Snapplify is an edtech leader, offering digital learning solutions for individuals and institutions worldwide.

From 1 June, FNB and RMB Private Bank customers could get up to 40 percent off Snapplify Book Bundle vouchers, depending on their reward level and if they paid for the vouchers with eBucks.

Over 1 million people without work for minimum 12 months
Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi has had to respond to a written parliamentary question on the number of young people (aged 15 to 24) who remain unemployed in South Africa after they reach the age of 35 and beyond.

The minister said the only data available is in Statistics South Africa’s Q4 2020 Quarterly Labour Force Survey, which shows that approximately 1.3 million people aged 15 to 24 sit without work in South Africa for at least three months, but the vast majority of these people (over 1 million) remain without work for a minimum of 12 months.

Covid-19 fraud in labour market
Nxesi also commented that Covid-19 became a backdoor to fraud risk and exposed the inadequate capacity of the state on many fronts.

Nxesi, who was speaking during a webinar outlining a milestone and interventions to mitigate the worst effects of Covid-19 pandemic on the labour market in South Africa, said “The auditors verified payments of R16 billion and traced R228 million that was fraudulently claimed by employers. Of the 121 employers that have already been handed to the Hawks by the Presidential Fusion Centre, 16 have appeared in court.”