Cape Town - Three women and two men, formerly in the employ of the South African Social Services Agency (Sassa) in the Gugulethu township, were found guilty of corruption on Tuesday.
They appeared in the Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Bellville, before magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg.
In the dock were Siviwe Matatu and Xolani Toko, both 36, and females Dideka Tosha, 42, Thumeka Nguque, 39, and Phatheka Nodada, 33.
A fourth woman, Nokwaka Mteto, 43, absconded during the protracted trial, and a warrant for her arrest is pending.
The judgment, in which the five were found guilty, did not include her.
Matutu, Tosha, Nguque, Toko and Nodada were in Sassa’s employ, at the Guguletu branch.
Although allegedly also involved in the scam, Mteto was not in Sassa’s employ.
According to the charge sheet, Sassa provides social grants to the elderly, as well as to disabled persons, and offers child-support grants, as well as care-dependency grants to people who meet the qualifying criteria.
The prosecutor, senior State advocate Denzyl Combrink, alleges that Mteto acted as an agent and recruiter for Matutu, Tosha, Nguque, Toko and Nodada, while another man not listed as an accused, Thabane Meselane, was Mteto’s agent. Meselane was also not in Sassa’s employ.
Meselane’s role was to collect personal information from people not entitled to grants, and to pass the information to Mteto.
Mteto, in turn, gave the information to the Sassa staff, to load fraudulent applications onto the system.
Meselane and Mteto thus assisted people who were not entitled to grants, to obtain grants fraudulently.
Meselane had to collect money from those who had received fraudulent grants, and give the money to Mteto.
Meselane was paid by Mteto, for the fraudulent “beneficiaries” he had recruited.
It is alleged that Mteto, in turn, kept some of the money as her own reward, and was also paid by the Sassa staff.
The Sassa five had user ID codes, which gave them access to the system.
In all, there were seven fraudulent beneficiaries, but the Sassa five decided how much each beneficiary would get, and kept the rest for themselves.
The five return to court on November 24, when sentencing proceedings commence.