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Durban - Two Post Office managers appeared in the Durban Commercial Crime Court on Monday, on charges of fraud, linked to South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) grants.

Nokuphiwa Gcwensa, 29, and Nothando Magwaza, 44, were arrested at their homes last week.

The two were denied bail yesterday, with the court saying the investigation was at a sensitive stage and more arrests were expected. The matter was adjourned to Friday.

SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said a joint intelligence-driven operation, involving the Provincial Commercial Crime Investigation Unit and other police units, as well as Post Office investigators, had uncovered alleged fraudulent activities, at Gcwensa and Magwaza’s post offices.

“Suspects were arrested at their places of residence. Police seized an undisclosed amount of cash, as well as various documents, as evidence. The suspects were charged with fraud,” he said.

Social Development KZN spokesperson Mhlabunzima Memela said the arrests would send a strong message, that no one would escape the law. Those found defrauding the government should be punished, he said.

“The provision of social grants to the poor people, by the government, is aimed at helping them. It’s painful to know that there are some people, employed by the government, who rob these vulnerable people. We want to see more people arrested for defrauding vulnerable people,” he said.

SA Post Office KZN general manager Martin Coetsee said the organisation had a zero-tolerance policy towards all crime.

“Where employees commit any criminal activities, we co-operate fully with the police. Members of the public, with information, should contact their nearest police station or the Post Office’s toll free crime-buster hotline on 0800020070.”

Sassa spokesperson Sandy Godlwana welcomed the arrests, saying social grants fraud remains the biggest challenge for Sassa countrywide.

Godlwana said Sassa was involved in a project called “Shayumoya”.

“The project is intended to render joint task team investigations, comprising Sassa, SAPS, and the National Prosecutions Authority - Director of Public Prosecutions office, to investigate cases and to bring perpetrators before courts - in the process, recovering the prejudice suffered.”

“Judging by the successful convictions that have been secured, it’s clear that the multi-disciplinary approach is bearing fruit.”

Fraudulent activities can be reported by calling the Sassa Fraud Hotline on 0800601011 or 0800701701, or using the tip-off boxes at Sassa offices.

Daily News