Minister's upcoming visit a welcome relief for workers
30 July 2008
The residents of Middelburg in Mpumalanga are set to kick off the traditional Women's Month of August in style with a visit this Friday by the Labour Minister.
Although Minister Membathisi Mdladlana's visit is not specifically part of the month-long celebrations, the co-incidental timing will be fitting in a province where domestic, farming, retail and mining sectors dominate an economy in which women and children represent the bulk of the extremely vulnerable, bearing the brunt of lay-offs and workplace injustices such as child labour.
Mdladlana's visit forms a second leg of his nationwide drive which he kicked off in the Free State last month aimed at raising public awareness about the many existing processing centres countrywide which help Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) claimants obtain their payouts much quicker than before.
Like the Free State and many other parts of the country, Mpumalanga's economy is characterised by a high rate of job losses a fact that highlights the importance of every worker being registered with the UIF as short-term relief against poverty.
Though the latest official figures show that the fund has between 2004 and March this year paid out R11,02 billion to over 2,2 million beneficiaries, it is felt that many more rightful people are still losing out as they do not make full use of existing mechanisms at their disposal probably due to lack of awareness.
The long queues that used to characterise the signing of the UIF register and collection of payment benefits have been eliminated since the introduction of the electronic payment system.
The number of workers registered on the UIF database currently stands at 7 392 493, while there are 1166 467 employers currently registered.
During his visit on Friday, the Minister is expected to among others interact with stakeholders, including workers and employers, on the importance of registering and he will also inspect and personally oversee the processing of some claims to check on any difficulties that claimants might be encountering.
The media is invited. Details of time and venue are as follows:
Date: 1 August 2008
Venue: Riverside Estate, Middelburg
Issued by: Department of Labour
30 July 2008
Source: Department of Labour (http://www.labour.gov.za)