Ghostbusters nab alleged welfare fraudster

By Ayanda Mhlongo Time of article published Nov 18, 2004

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Efforts by the department of social welfare to weed out corruption are beginning to have positive results after the arrest of an Umzinto woman who has allegedly defrauded the department of more than R1,2-million.

Acting on a tip-off, members of the Special Investigations Directorate and the Police's Crime Intelligence Unit went to the woman's house and after searching the premises they recovered bogus pension cards and fake identity documents.

Provincial Minister of Social Welfare and Development Nyanga Ngubane said that when the investigating officers arrived at the woman's house she tried to escape, but was arrested.

"When they searched the house they found 126 fake pension cards which have been allegedly used by the suspect for child support grant claims," he said.

According to the department the woman, who could not be named, began collecting the child grants in 2003 at a number of pay-out points in Umzinto and Durban.

Ngubane said that the arrest was made possible after an anonymous tip-off from a member of the public who had called the newly set up hotline number. Since the establishment of the toll free hotline the department has received more than 75 calls from members of the public reporting fraud and corruption.

Most of the calls have been made from areas in the Durban region between Stanger and Umzinto.

According to the department however, only 33 of the calls have been valid and are currently being investigated.

"The details that the other callers forwarded to us were incomplete so that is why it's so difficult to follow up on those cases," he said.

The department advised people who wish to give information to give as much detail as possible about the person they are reporting as well as their own details.

"We do ensure that the identity of the caller is kept confidential and will only be used for our records," he said.

Ngubane urged members of the public to continue using the hotline and to assist the department with its fight to end corruption.

"I appeal to the public to only report genuine cases and to not use the number for hoax calls," he said

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