1174 people have fraudulently received social grants from the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) over the past ten years, costing SASSA more than half a billion rands.
According to Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, this was revealed when she responded to a parliamentary question from DA MP Bridget Masango, who asked how many people have wrongfully received social grants and how much has been stolen.
From 2012-2013 to 2021-2022, 1 174 suspected abuses of the social grant system were referred to law enforcement, according to Zulu’s written response.
Seven hundred and sixty-one officials, 221 beneficiaries, 120 lenders and 72 private citizens were included in the category.
A total of R536 683 179.12 is projected as the potential loss. It has not been possible to fully determine the actual loss in some of the cases yet,” Zulu said.
In 2018-19, Sassa recorded a potential loss of R215 million, and in 2013-14, it recorded a loss of R109 million.
In response to questions from EFF Laetitia MP Arries, Zulu said Sassa had managed to steal 82 084 cards and R23 million since 2018.
Two officials from her department have been accused of illegal activities, Human Settlements Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi said.
During the conversation, Kubayi was answering questions from IFP MP Sibuyiselwe Angela Buthelezi regarding the number of employees convicted of scams and other illegal activities.
Buthelezi also asked how many cases or complaints had been filed against her department and its employees.
The department received two referrals, and the South African Police Service opened one criminal case.
She said the court case is currently in progress, and the other matter is still being investigated by the department.
Two fraudulent payments resulted in a loss of R3 200 000 for the department during the 2018-2019 financial period. The other matter was reported during the 2022-2023 period.
Currently, the matter is under investigation, and once the investigation is completed, financial implications will be determined.
SASSA corruption issue undermines the core purpose of social security assistance. Integrating robust monitoring systems, strengthening transparency, and providing adequate remuneration to employees are essential to combating corruption effectively. SASSA can restore public trust by addressing corruption’s causes and effects, so that social grants are distributed to those who need them most. You can contact sassa here.