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No disciplinary action yet against civil servants who defrauded State of R350 grants

Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Dec 9, 2021

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Cape Town - Public Service and Administration Minister Ayanda Dlodlo says no disciplinary and/or legal steps have yet been taken against the civil servants who received the R350 social relief of distress (SRD) grants in May 2020.

Dlodlo revealed this when she was responding in writing to parliamentary questions from DA MP Mimmy Gondwe.

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Gondwe enquired whether any disciplinary and/or legal steps had been taken against the 241 civil servants who, according to the Department of Social Development, received the R350 grants while in employment of the state.

In her response, Dlodlo said the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) was working with the departments of identified civil servants to ensure legal steps were taken where required.

“The Department of Public Service Administration (DPSA) is working closely with Sassa to ensure that disciplinary steps are taken against public service employees who received the SRD grants in an unlawful way,” she said.

Dlodlo said investigations were conducted by Sassa with support from the Fusion Centre because her department had no investigative mandate.

“The DPSA plays a coordinating role and provides technical assistance to departments as far as that is concerned,” the minister said.

Dlodlo also said her department had verified the list of 241 employees identified to have received SRD grants unlawfully, but it found that only 198 employees on the list were in fact civil servants.

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“The investigating team, therefore, is currently focussing on the remaining 198 cases, and works with the South African Police Service to obtain statements and to collect evidence.

“This collated information is packaged in files which were opened for each accused. These files will be used during the criminal and disciplinary process so as to synchronise the two processes,” she said.

Dlodlo said the civil servants would face charges of fraud and misrepresentation.

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“The investigation process is not yet finalised, but is continuing,” she said.

Dlodlo said a meeting held in November had resolved that the allegations against the civil servants were of a serious nature, and that disciplinary hearings should be held.

She explained that some of the processes to be followed included offices of the premiers coordinating and monitoring the cases, and Sassa providing witnesses.

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“Departments will have 90 days to finalise their cases from the dates of receiving files. DPSA and Sassa will monitor the adherence to the time-lines and Sassa will finalise the packaging of files,” she said.

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