DA calls for audit of social grants recipients database

MINISTER of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu. | Dumisani Dube Independent Newspapers

MINISTER of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu. | Dumisani Dube Independent Newspapers

Published Jan 14, 2024


DA shadow minister of social development, Bridget Masango, has called for an audit of the social grants recipients database.

This comes after recent reports indicating that the department was paying millions to undeserving beneficiaries.

Masango said these revelations were a violation of Section 21 of the Social Assistance Act.

As such, the party has called for President Cyril Ramaphosa to commission an independent audit of all social grant recipient databases as a matter of urgency.

“The purpose of the independent audit will be to review the integrity of the data, weed out undeserving recipients and institute processes to recoup money that has been irregularly disbursed,” she said.

Masango said the irregular payments to 75 000 deceased recipients was confirmed by Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu during a parliamentary question.

“A response to a DA parliamentary question by the Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, revealed that the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) paid out R140 million to 75 000 deceased beneficiaries over the past three financial years,” Masango said.

Masango said this was not the first time the government had been found to be losing money to undeserving beneficiaries, following a similar incident during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In a separate case, a response to another DA parliamentary question by Minister of of Public Service and Administration, Sizwe Mchunu, revealed that 5 812 Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grants and 33 833 social grants paid to undeserving public servants were cancelled after it was discovered that the applicants or beneficiaries had contravened the Social Assistance Act by furnishing false information,” she said.

Masango said the government needs to regularly update its database of beneficiaries, which has more than once has been called into question.

“These two responses provide clear evidence that the integrity of the databases used to pay out social grants is severely compromised and could be costing the taxpayer tens of millions of rand in payments to undeserving individuals.

“To continue using these databases despite these glaring shortcomings would be grossly irresponsible and an unacceptable neglect of assigned responsibility on the part Ramaphosa as the head of the executive,” she said.

She said the government was doing little to stop the rot within its governance systems, with the DA calling for disciplinary proceedings to be initiated against those responsible.

“Of serious concern is that there appears to be no sustained effort to recoup money that has been irregularly paid out to undeserving recipients despite clear evidence of a violation of the law.

“Despite violations amounting to R40 000, the public service system has only instituted 42 disciplinary proceedings against implicated public servants for improper behaviour. This is just a drop in the ocean considering the scale of the fraud that took place,” she said. | The Star

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