Durban - Two former South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) officials have been jailed for five years following disability fraud.
Solani Agnes Baloyi, 56, and Jacob Manamela, 64, were each sentenced to an effective five years’ imprisonment by the Giyani Specialised Commercial Crimes Court this week.
Police said in January 2015, the accused who were stationed at Tzaneen Sassa offices recruited unemployed people from the area to apply for disability grants whereas they were not disabled.
“The applications were successfully processed by the accused and the payments were made to unfit beneficiaries,” said police spokesperson Captain Matimba Maluleke.
“The first payments would be shared with the officials while the other payments would be for the beneficiaries.”
Maluleke said the authorities from Sassa received a tip-off about the fraudulent activities and reported the matter to the Hawks Serious Commercial Crime Investigation.
“After conducting a thorough investigation, the accused were arrested and released on bail until they were found guilty and sentenced.
“The department has suffered a loss of R600 000 due to these fraudulent activities.”
The Provincial Head of the Hawks in Limpopo Province, Major-General Gopz Govender, has stated that this should serve as a deterrent to other fraudsters who might commit fraud on monies that are meant to assist members of the community who are living with disabilities.