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JOHANNESBURG- The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) has distanced itself from alleged fake news doing the rounds that it had accidentally paid grants to 17 000 illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe. 

"A fake news article claiming Sassa accidentally paid grants to 17 000 illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe is doing the rounds on social media," Sassa said in a statement. 

"The false article from a dodgy fake news website is incorrectly attributed to SASSA spokesperson, Paseka Letsatsi. SASSA wishes to distance itself from this xenophobic article which attempts to confuse the public and undermine government efforts to continue providing a buffer against the levels of poverty in the country through the provision of social security.

"This is not the first time that saboteurs have targeted Sassa with ridiculous and misleading reports. It seems that someone with malicious intent is deliberately trying to stir the public's emotions and confuse grant beneficiaries. What is more disturbing is that this faceless person is trying to promote xenophobic attitudes and drive a wedge among the diverse inhabitants of South Africa," Sassa said. 

Acting CEO Abraham Mahlangu said: "This fake news unfortunately comes at the back of a situation where some beneficiaries were struggling to withdraw their grants as a result of a technical glitch which has since been resolved. We remain steadfast in pursuing our mandate of distributing social grants and we won't be distracted by low lives who don't have the interest of our beneficiaries at heart.

"We are confident that the public won't be swayed by such people who seek to undermine its intelligence," he said. 

"The social grant system is stabilised at the moment and going forward, we will eliminate any possibility of technical problems on our system. SASSA will pursue the legal route to ensure that these scoundrels are brought to book," Mahlangu said.

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Cape Argus