The National Social Security Authority (NSSA) has noted with concern the rise of fraudulent activities by some companies who are resorting to using fake clearance certificates which have become mandatory requirements for tendering processes.
NSSA, according to law, made the certificate a mandatory requirement as a way of safeguarding the contractors from employing un-insured companies and safeguarding them in case of any eventuality.
The certificate can easily be accessed from the NSSA self-service portal or NSSA offices dotted around the country provided the company is up to date regarding payments and has submitted returns properly and timeously.
Speaking during a journalists’ mentorship program, NSSA Southern Region Acting Deputy Director Contributions and Compliance Mr Vusa Mdlongwa said the fraudulent production or obtaining of NSSA clearance certificate has become a common criminal offence arising from non-compliance by insurers.
“Apart from evasion of payment of contributions and premiums, and failure to comply with any of the provisions of the NSSA Act, companies are now fraudulently producing NSSA clearance certificates which they use in tendering processes.
“This has become a common criminal offence arising from non-compliant by companies as they would have failed to put their house in order,” said Mr Mdlongwa.
He said the certificate acts as an assurance that the trading partner’s employees are adequately covered by social security schemes.
“Certificates issued to registered employers and are issued subject to the employer being compliant in terms of payments of contributions and premiums as well as submissions of returns. Noncompliance, therefore, places liability on the contracting businesses in cases where worker place injuries occur,” he said.
All businesses are required by law to include the NSSA clearance certificate as one of the listed requirements in all media adverts for procurement such as tenders, expression of interests or request for suppliers list among others.
“The NSSA Clearance certificate is a mandatory requirement for all tender processes and businesses are required to contract or sub-contract NSSA compliant entities by demanding a valid NSSA clearance certificate,” emphasized Mr Mdlongwa.
He warned that any company that may be found wanting in this regard may face the full wrath of the law as NSSA would be forced to institute legal recovery options or other legal routes that may be costly to the company.
He noted that other challenges NSSA is facing include obstruction of its officers in the discharge of duties, knowingly deducting from employee’s wages any amount exceeding the employee’s report and disclosure of confidential information among other fraudulent and corrupt acts.
The mandatory demand for the NSSA clearance certificate is part of a raft of measures put in place to curb poor voluntary compliance, counter the macro-economic instability as well as dwindling contributor base as most businesses are informal.