Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) boss Teboho Maruping went undercover to check on how things were going at the Soshanguve office only to be asked by a female security guard to pay a bribe if he wanted his application processed speedily.
UIF Commissioner Maruping on Thursday made the shocking revelation that “a private security guard requested a R400 bribe from him to expedite a benefit claim at the Soshanguve Labour Centre”.
Maruping said he has since reported the matter to the South African Police Service (SAPS).
The incident occurred earlier this week on Tuesday, (6 December 2022), when Maruping visited the Labour Centre disguised as an ordinary citizen.
Last month the Labour Centre had to close after disgruntled UIF staff went on strike. Clients complain of poor services and say some of the staff are rude.
Maruping’s visit to the Labour Centre was prompted by a desire to have a first-hand account of any challenges and find out how the service offered can be improved.
And he soon found out what many UIF clients already know – if you pay a bribe your application for benefits gets sorted speedily.
Narrating events leading to the bribe offer, the Department of Labour said: “When Maruping arrived at the Labour Centre, a private security guard, unaware of who he was, allegedly indicated to him that the centre had stopped capturing claims for the year.
“She then requested a R400 bribe from Maruping to facilitate assistance from government officials who are employed at the Labour Centre.”
The Commissioner allowed the entire process to unfold and then reported the incident to the Labour Centre manager, who immediately had the bribe-soliciting security guard removed from the premises.
Maruping subsequently reported the matter to SAPS in Soshanguve, where a criminal case was opened against the guard.
Upon engaging with clients and staff at the Labour Centre, Maruping condemned the practice of paying and taking bribes for government services that are free to citizens.
“As the UIF, we have a zero-tolerance approach towards corruption, extortion, bribery, or any related criminal practices,” said Maruping.
“All services of the UIF are free and should not be paid for. I am warning officials working at Labour Centres to desist from taking bribes in order to do what they were employed to do.”