Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA)
Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA)

How prisoners, post office staff, foreign nationals cashed in on social grants

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Jun 5, 2021

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Cape Town - From post office employees to prisoners and foreign nationals, they have been illegally cashing in on the social grants amounting to millions of rand.

But Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said they have picked up the problem and blocked the payments, saving the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) millions.

Zulu said in a written reply in Parliament from DA MP Bridget Masango that from last year they had picked up the fraudulent transactions in Sassa payments of social grants.

She said 1 768 employees at the South African Post Office were receiving social grants.

“The grants were suspended, saving Sassa approximately R1.5 million per month,” said Zulu.

She said they also identified other fraudulent cases where 4 726 grants were transacted outside South Africa when the borders were closed during the lockdown period.

“The grants were suspended, saving Sassa approximately R7 million per month,” said Zulu.

She said they also found other fraudulent cases where 105 prisoners were receiving social grants.

“These grants were cancelled, saving Sassa approximately R196 000 per month,” she said.

Zulu said they also found that thousands of other people were double-dipping and getting paid the R350 grant for the unemployed when they were not entitled to it.

This followed an investigation by Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke that more than 8 million was paid in these social grants.

But they have started a process to recoup the funds.

“The Auditor-General of South Africa has identified incidents of double-dipping involving the applicants of the special Covid-19 SRD grant who also applied for other Covid-19 relief measures administered by other government entities. While the AGSA identified a total of 80 117 cases in the first three months of this grant, on confirming information, 25 088 people were identified with a value of R8 780 800 as having received the R350 grant to which they were not entitled.

“Debts are being raised for these citizens. It should also be noted that, as soon as the anomalies were identified by AGSA, payment of the special relief grant to these clients was stopped, thus limiting the loss to the state,” said Zulu.

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Political Bureau

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