How family members and the girlfriend of a 25-year-old Pretoria warehouse worker benefited from some of the R5.7m in Covid-19 relief funds irregularly paid into his personal bank account by the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) is set out in a Sunday Times report.

Tshepang Phohole gave millions of rands to his father, sister, brother-in-law and girlfriend in what the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) claims was a bid to launder the cash.

The UIF inexplicably paid the money – meant for 1 400 workers from labour brokerage CSG Resources – into Phohole’s personal account.

The instant multimillionaire – who works as a packer at a paint company’s warehouse in Silverton – is alleged to have distributed the money in what AFU investigators called a graft and money-laundering scheme.

Labour Department DG Thobile Lamati told Parliament’s public accounts watchdog, Scopa, on Friday that Phohole created a profile as an employer, using CSG’s UIF number. He then filled in his own banking details.

‘When the company tried to access the system, they were blocked. They then requested a new password and were given access. They uploaded their employees, but overlooked (the changed banking details),’ he said.

‘In the process of resetting the password, there could be collusion between some of our officials who are responsible for this, or the employee accessed the company profile with the express intent to defraud the fund,’ he said.

Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale said their probe was incomplete, and as such, no arrests had been made.

Full Sunday Times report