Last month, millions of South Arica’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens were literally left out in the cold while queueing for their social grants due to widespread Postbank payment glitches.
But there were no such “payment issues” for 40 officials from the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) who allegedly used fraudulent activities to fatten their own bank accounts over the past two years.
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Zulu reveals fraud of R50m by Sassa officials
This was revealed by Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu this week in response to parliamentary questions by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP Laetitia Arries.
Zulu confirmed 40 workers at the agency were implicated in 701 suspected cases of fraud.
“These cases ranged from fraudulent collection of grants intended for deceased individuals, the submission of disability grant applications with falsified medical information, and the illicit collection of child support grants,” the minister said.
“For the period under review, approximately 701 suspected cases of fraud were detected, investigated, involving 40 Sassa officials who were implicated to the potential loss of R50 515 541.34.
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“It is important to note that this figure represents a cumulative potential loss documented for the said period involving various other parties not limited to Sassa officials,” Zulu added.
The minister claimed the “notable surge in detection of fraudulent cases can be attributed to Sassa’s anti-corruption strategy”.
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‘Minimal consequence management’ – DA
She said disciplinary measures, including dismissal, demotion, written warnings and suspension without pay, were imposed on officials.
Zulu’s praise for Sassa’s “anti-corruption strategy” is in stark contrast to the Democratic Alliance (DA) taking the agency to task in April this year for its “minimal consequence management” over officials with long fingers.
“The more than R536 million looted in the past decade would have gone a long way in ensuring that Sassa offices are capacitated and addressing system failures and safety glitches.
“Minister Zulu must ensure that those individuals who steal from the poorest and most vulnerable are held accountable and serve as warning to any others who might have similar schemes in mind,” the party said.
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