Illegals cashing in on grants
Mandla Khoza and Siphiwe Nyathi
Mbombela - A preliminary inter-ministerial investigation has confirmed that thousands of Mozambican and Swazi citizens have dual citizenship and cross into South Africa to collect social grants on a monthly basis.
The preliminary report was presented by Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini during a visit to Mangweni and communities near the Swaziland border on Friday as part of social development month.
“In an investigation between September 12 and 19 this year, the department, in conjunction with the South African Police Service and South African Social Security Agency (Sassa), found that there are thousands of foreign people benefitting from [South Africa] because they have dual citizenship,” said Dlamini.
She said it was easy for foreign citizens to get citizenship in South Africa because they had inside help.
"Among the things the investigation revealed is that local traditional leaders give them affidavits to apply for [South African] IDs and social grants," she said.
Dlamini said the investigation targeted activities along Mpumalanga's borders, including 15 illegal crossing points and 25 pension paypoints in the Nkomazi area, which borders both Swaziland and Mpumalanga.
The report also revealed that thousands of foreign citizens owned RDP houses in South Africa, which they rented to South Africans.
“They only come here to collect grants and rent money and go back home until the next month,” Dlamini said.
She said the department had advertised posts to hire more Sassa officials who will be trained to correct the problem.
“We will push the investigation forward to clamp down on this practice in both Mpumalanga and Limpopo,” she said.