Zimbabweans formally employed in South Africa have sought assistance from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and trade unions to help them in accessing Covid-19 grants made available under the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).
The South African government has availed grants to millions of its citizens who have been rendered jobless due to the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The UIF also gives short term relief to workers when they become unemployed or are unable to work because of maternity or illness.
However, formally employed migrant workers have been unable to access the funds.
Millions of Zimbabweans living and working in the neighbouring are failing to pay rentals and buying food as most companies remain closed due to coronavirus and are desperate to access the UIF grants.
Most of them make monthly contributions to the fund.
The desperate Zimbabweans in South Africa, through the Zimbabwe Community (ZIMCOSA), have since approached ILO offices in Pretoria, the Confederation of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) to appeal for assistance from the government to access the UIF grants.
ZIMCOSA spokesperson Bongani Mkwananzi confirmed the new engagement and hoped to find a lasting solution soon.
“We have sought the services of the International Labour Organisation office in Pretoria, COSATU, and NEHAWU to resolve the issue of UIF Covid-19 payment to migrant workers,” he said.
“It has been brought to our attention that the UIF Commissioner has said that there is no policy that discriminates the payment of UIF funds to migrants registered and contributing to UIF.”
However, Mkwananzi said despite the assurances, migrant workers were failing to access the grants and wanted the labour unions to intervene.