- Sassa lost more than R50 million to card fraud.
- Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu revealed close to 20 000 fraud cases were reported to Sassa in 2019.
- Sassa spent R18 million on investigations to recoup the monies lost to fraud.
South Africa’s troubled SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) social grants payments agency was defrauded of over R50 million in just one year, and it had to spend another R18 million on an investigation to recoup some of the money.
This is according to a response by Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu to a written parliamentary question from DA MP Bridget Masango.
Masango wanted details on the close to 20 000 cases of fraud reported to Sassa, the number of cases resolved, total amounts recovered, and if any implicated officials have been suspended or fired.
Zulu said in 2019, R54 055 131.70 was lost through Sassa card fraud.
"[Monies] spent on all fraud investigations in Sassa, including investigations conducted by the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) was R18 915 137.00. The money lost during 2019 was reimbursed by the South African Post Office to the value of R45 150 091.32," she said.
The entity is responsible for distributing social grants to more than 16 million South Africans.
Please note that the below information is FALSE and does NOT come from SASSA. The special COVID-19 temporary SRD grant will be paid only until the end of October 2020 to successful and approved applicants. #SASSACARES @The_DSD @GCISMedia @GovernmentZA @nda_rsa pic.twitter.com/aWfDHT15UA— SASSA (@OfficialSASSA) October 14, 2020
Zulu said the fraud occurred in the SAPO environment and 14 post office employees have been dismissed.
The 14 officials were among 72 people who were arrested.
Last month, News24 reported over the past five years, more than R282 million has been looted from the Sassa.
A grand total of 258 cases were recorded in the last five years in all regions [provinces], read Zulu's answer.
Of these 258 cases, only 76 officials had been fired. Altogether, 156 were placed on precautionary suspensions, and 26 were suspended without pay.
KwaZulu-Natal recorded the highest number in precautionary and dismissal categories. Overall, the province accounts for 55% which is the highest compared to other regions," read Zulu's answer.
In KwaZulu-Natal, 111 officials were suspended, and 25 were dismissed.
The Northern Cape and Western Cape recorded the lowest cases.
Social grants are also paid to citizens living in neighbouring countries.
Zulu confirmed this last month when she revealed Sassa pays social grants to 579 citizens residing in Namibia as part of a 1994 bilateral agreement.
On 19 April 1994, the governments of South Africa and Namibia signed a bilateral agreement which binds South Africa to continue paying social grants to its citizens who lived in Walvis Bay at the time the agreement was signed.
The agreement has no termination date.
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