Sitting in the UIF line online…
Following my previous post, a few things have happened.
One of these was not the UIF fulfilling their pretty basic function and paying me the money I’m due. One would ordinarily start a sentence like that with “sadly” or “unforunately”, but I don’t even have the capacity to feel sad or unfortunate at the moment. I am enraged, in a strange calm and calculating kind of way. The UIF and its incompetence is an utter disgrace, and the people who work there should be ashamed of themselves and their superiors. And we should all be ashamed of the government, because they are letting us all down!
Let’s be clear – this post is not essentially about me and the money I am owed by the UIF. It is about a matter in principle. It is about the fact that there are countless poor people out there who are shoved down and trodden on by the government when they’re at their most vulnerable.
So, despite the fact that I started every conversation at the UIF centre in Randburg with, “I’ve applied online, but…”, it took multiple sessions of wasting-of-my-life there before I was told that they can’t process online application queries there and rudely sent away with an email address scribbled on a torn-off corner of paper. This address was for Deon van Niekerk, Assistant Director, e-operations…
He assisted me with some queries and then fell off the face of the Earth, with no response since around 7 December. My online UIF profile shows “sent to paymaster” on 7 December. One is left wondering how many more hoops the process involves.
So I have turned to my ex-employer for support… Watch this space. For anyone else struggling with this insane and frustrating process, I can only advise you to request help from your ex-employer. We little people, individually, have got no hope of being noticed on the government’s radar screen. I also feel that the large companies, especially, owe their retrenched employees some assistance because the situation is largely due to the actions of the employer…
Returning to my actual point… while the visits to the Randburg Labour Department were a ridiculous waste of time, I became aware of the plight of Mr and Mrs Citizen in the queues around me. The staff at the labour centre were often rude (to anyone), and would stop working, come to the queueing area and argue about how the chairs should be organised.
One can’t help but flash into a scene from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
You know, something like, “Have you completed the form requesting permission to use a pen?”
I reckon that a lot of the people who pitch up at the Labour Centres daily have got NO other option. They have probably walked for hours to get there, or borrowed money to pay the taxi fare. They need the UIF money, literally to put food on the table. They will starve eventually, or possibly turn to crime to try and solve their problems. They rely on the government; and I weep, and wonder if they realise they are the ones who have been robbed…
After I contacted my ex-employer for support, I sent a long email to John Robbie of 702 Talk Radio. I don’t know where else to turn, and I hope he or his team will read my communication and be able to shine some light on the dodgy operating practices of the South African Labour Department. As employees we have no option to pay or not to pay monthly UIF contributions, but most of us will never receive what we ARE OWED by them when we’re in real trouble.
If you have a similar story, or some miraculous solution, please do leave a comment. I would like to know everyone’s experiences.
PS. I’m not up for “asking a favour” or “using a contact” (or whatever euphemism we use for bribery these days) so please do not suggest stupid things like that. Thank you!