Departments clamp down on TB fraud

2009-09-19 15:20

THE departments of health and social development have stopped issuing temporary disability grants to people with curable TB because of growing abuse of the grants system by bogus TB patients.

In a statement posted on the government’s official website on Tuesday, national health spokesperson ­Fidel Hadebe says: “Previously, people who had TB would qualify for a social relief grant (disability grant), but based on the abuse of the policy the department of health agreed with the department of social development to stop issuing such grants.”

Hadebe said TB was curable and “not regarded as a disability”.

“It is only in multi-drug-resistant (MDR) and extremely drug-resistant (XDR) TB cases that an assessment will be made to determine a need for any form of social relief,” writes Hadebe in the posting.

The statement comes in the wake of a City Press investigation revealing that TB patients in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, were selling their sputum to people who then fraudulently applied for grants.

Efforts to contact Hadebe were unsuccessful. However, Western Cape social development department media liaison officer Danny Abrahams said he was unaware of any changes in the criteria for temporary disability grant applications.

Abrahams said even people with first-degree (least infectious) TB could obtain a temporary grant and

people with infectious but curable TB might not qualify for a grant.

Meanwhile, the departments of health and social development this week said they were ordering investigations into allegations of a TB grant fraud scam.

However, a speech delivered by then health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang during a TB blitz campaign in East London in 2006 indicates the government has been aware of TB patients selling their saliva for at least three years.

Tshabalala-Msimang is quoted in her speech, archived on, as saying: “Some are reportedly making money from selling sputum that is positive for TB. We cannot allow this abuse of resources to continue.” – West Cape News

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.