Minister Nxesi must break the silence on dodgy R5 billion UIF deal

Issued by Dr Michael Cardo MP – DA Shadow Minister of Employment and Labour 
19 Oct 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Dr Michael Cardo MP

The Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi, should break his silence on the dodgy R5 billion Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF)/ Thuja Capital deal and account to Parliament.

This is even more urgent now that the Director-General (DG) in the Department, Thobile Lamati, has resigned following the scandal, according to media reports. Officials are muttering that the departmental dominoes have started to fall.

Clearly the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) is in shambles, and the Minister is treating the Portfolio Committee with contempt by keeping his lips sealed. In this he is aided and abetted by the committee chair, Lindelwa Dunjwa.

Last week I wrote to Ms Dunjwa requesting that the Minister should appear before the committee to account for the scuppered R5 billion ‘job creation’ deal between Thuja and the UIF.

I have not received a response to my letter or even an acknowledgment.

Without completing due diligence, and against the advice of their own adjudication structures, DEL and UIF had planned to invest billions of rands of workers’ hard-earned money into Thuja, ostensibly to create thousands of jobs and market linkages, and to broaden supply chains.

This was clearly a mad-hatter’s scheme from the very start, designed to make a few departmental insiders very wealthy.

The Minister owes Parliament an explanation about:

  • Details of the forensic investigation into the thwarted transaction, including the inquiry’s recommendations, the name of the service provider that conducted the probe and the costs thereof;
  • Disciplinary measures that have been and will be taken against all implicated officials.

There must be consequences for this attempted abuse of resources. The UIF is barely functioning: thousands of UIF beneficiaries are still waiting to be paid their money. The notion that the UIF was prepared to squander R5bn on an unproven scheme is unconscionable, and the Minister owes the nation an explanation about the fallout from the transaction and why the DG has resigned.

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