De Lille orders grant audit
Cape Town - Western Cape Social Development MEC Patricia de Lille has ordered a forensic audit into the emergency relief grant (ERG) after discovering "a litany of errors" by the department.
De Lille made the decision after it was discovered that no proper verification was done and that social worker managers did not sign off on any assessment forms filled in by social workers, she said at a press conference in Cape Town on Thursday.
"I am now going to do a forensic audit on the emergency relief grant processes for the past two financial years, and I would like to encourage the other MECs to do the same."
De Lille said she had "temporarily delayed" payment to the grant's 3 009 beneficiaries.
About R6.3m is available in the ERG account which is held with the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa). Each beneficiary should receive two payments of R1 080, one in December and one in January.
"Regional managers at social development did not do a quality check to ensure that the social worker managers had signed the forms off, or for accuracy," De Lille said.
"As the (provincial) minister of social development I then needed to get outside help to do the verification, before which I was not prepared to put my signature to the submission form, or to instruct Sassa to go ahead with the payments."
The initial verification process uncovered five beneficiaries whose names had appeared on the Western Cape provincial government's payroll during the course of this year, five incorrect identity numbers and two identity numbers consisting of only 12, instead of 13 digits.
"I want to say to the genuine beneficiaries who desperately need the money - these people that think they can steal from the poor will be tracked down and punished," De Lille said.
"We are also going to discipline the department employees who haven’t done their jobs properly, because poor people are suffering because of them."