R19m social grant fraud uncovered in KZN
Durban – Fraud totalling R19 million at the KwaZulu-Natal social development department’s Empangeni office may also involve the Department of Justice as well as the Department of Home Affairs.
Nokuthula Khanyile, the head of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Social Development, said at a press conference that KZN Social Development MEC Weziwe Thusi had met with officials from other departments to inform them of the investigations that had led to the closure of the Empangeni offices last week.
Last week, Thusi announced that the Empangeni office had been closed and the 35 staff employed there had been sent on forced leave of 60 days.
At the time, she announced that 1 376 grants were processed for foster care children who did not exist.
Khanyile said that internal investigations had already revealed that there were also foster care grants for children whose parents were alive and well and there were grants for people who did not exist.
For those children for whom grants were obtained, death certificates would have had to have been issued.
Khanyile said all court orders for the grants were obtained from one court - the Ngwelezane Magistrate’s court.
She declined to go into the details of the fraud, but said: “It [the fraud] was picked up through our internal systems. It was not picked up from the outside.”
Khanyile said that police had yet to be called in, but that they would be called in to investigate once the three-man task team appointed by Thusi last week had completed its investigations.
She said it was still not clear what the total value of the fraud was or for how long it had been going on.
African News Agency