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JOHANNESBURG – As the impacts of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) begin to take their toll on South African citizens, Vodacom has partnered with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to zero-rate its uFiling website. This will give employers and employees who have been affected by the Covid-19 lockdown the ability to get information about the UIF and / or apply for UIF benefits, including the Covid-19 TERS Benefit - without incurring any charges for doing so on the Vodacom network.
The UIF recently announced that it had committed R10 billion for payouts this financial year to deal with Covid-19 lockdown cases. By 8 April, UIF had received 22 000 Covid-19 related claims but expects this number to increase as more companies cut employee salaries to survive.
Commenting on the initiative, Vodacom Group’s Chief Executive Officer: Shameel Joosub said: “Vodacom is working with the UIF to give our customers free access to this important website so that customers can access accurate information and process claims without using any data or airtime. Online applications will limit the number of people who physically go to the Labour Centres, thereby contributing to government’s call for social distancing to manage the spread of the virus. Customers can access the website through our free ConnectU portal in addition to a host of other essential services.”
The UIF Commissioner, Teboho Maruping said the partnership between UIF and Vodacom will certainly assist in ensuring that UIF beneficiaries continue to access UIF services even during the lockdown. “This partnership with Vodacom could not have come at a better time. We are delighted that Vodacom will enable our beneficiaries to apply online at zero costs and that is big for us because with the closure of Labour Centres, applications through uFiling is the only option for our beneficiaries”, said Maruping.
“Helping to address societal challenges, such as that posed by Covid-19, is part of the Vodacom Group’s broader commitment to create a Social Contract with its stakeholders in the markets where it operates. It will take a collaborative effort to beat this pandemic which is why we have already concluded partnerships with the National Department of Health, Discovery, Samsung and now the UIF, amongst others,” concludes Joosub.
Last week Vodacom announced that it will donate 20 000 smartphones plus 100 terabytes of data and 10 million voice calls minutes to the National Department of Health to support efforts in combatting the spread of Covid-19 in South Africa. This will be used by frontline health workers to collect and transmit data in real time for resource planning purposes as government accelerates its Covid-19 testing campaign. Vodacom recently confirmed that Group CEO Shameel Joosub had heeded the call by President Cyril Ramaphosa and will donate a third of his salary for the next three months to the Solidarity Fund.