Social development minister Lindiwe Zulu. File photo by Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA).

DURBAN -  Social development minister Lindiwe Zulu told regional social security officials in KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday that fraud and corruption would be dealt with decisively. 

"I am willing to work well with those that are committed to improve the living conditions of our people on the ground, [but] we will not tolerate any form of fraud and corruption in our social grants system”, said Zulu.

The minister was on her first monitoring visit to social services delivery points in Pietermaritzburg when she made the remarks. 

She also praised officials for their "continued service to the most vulnerable". 

“I am impressed by the dedication and high level of professionalism I have witnessed thus far. You are the backbone of our government’s work and we are conscious of the fact that your working conditions need to be improved," she said.  

Zulu emphasised the importance of coordination across government in general and between the department and its entities in particular. This would improve services and maximise the impact of the department’s interventions and programmes for the most vulnerable, she said. 

The minister was joined by KZN social development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza, uMgungundlovu District Municipality mayor Thobekile Maphumulo and Msunduzi Local Municipality mayor, Themba Njilo.

The delegation visited the Emuseni Centre for the Aged and the South African Post Office (SAPO) before meeting with Sassa officials. 

Zulu said she was "pleased" with the services at Emuseni. 

“We really appreciate the work you are doing of looking after our senior citizens. We all have to restore our culture of respect for older persons and for families who support, love and care for them. It is important to have at least one social worker at each of the old age centres as they always render much-needed professional social support to our senior citizens.

“We know that not all families are able to look after their older persons and it is for this reason that we have centres like Emuseni where our older persons can receive dignified treatment and protection of their human rights," said Zulu, who donated blankets and "dignity" packs to the 55 residents of the facility. 

Zulu will travel from KZN to the Eastern Cape on Friday, where she will officially hand over a newly built early childhood development (ECD) centre in Mdantsane. 

African News Agency (ANA)