'Loan sharks' arrested with more than 200 Sassa cards, cash in Sebokeng

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Community patrollers have arrested two people who were allegedly withdrawing cash using more than 200 South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) cards at the Thabong Mall in Sebokeng on Wednesday.

The Gauteng Department of Community Safety commended the role community patrollers were playing during the Covid-19 lockdown period.

According to department spokesperson Ofentse Morwane, the two were seen withdrawing cash using various Sassa cards at an Absa ATM near the Spar supermarket at the mall.

"The arrest was effected by the members of the South African Police Service following a tip-off from patrollers deployed at the mall. The suspects are believed to be loan sharks who took the Sassa cards from their owners," Morwane said.

They have been detained at the Sebokeng police station while the investigation continues.

According to the department, it has deployed more than 3 000 community patrollers to assist during the Covid-19 lockdown to ensure compliance with the regulations and adherence to the Disaster Management Act.

READ | Free State loan shark 'committed suicide' after police raid

"They are also tasked with assisting and ensuring that the elderly, disabled and child support grant beneficiaries comply with social distancing at identified Sassa pay points, as well as at various shopping malls. The patrollers are also deployed in identified crime hotspots across the province."

All patrollers are screened for Covid-19 and supplied with essential services permits, sanitisers and face masks.

sassa

More than 200 Sassa cards were taken from suspected loan sharks. (Department of Community Safety)

"The deployment of community patrollers augurs well in our efforts to improve the safety levels of our citizens especially during this global pandemic. Community patrollers are the first line of defence and a force multiplier in ensuring that our streets and homes are safe at all times," Morwane said.

"They have been working tirelessly to turn the tide against crime and ensuring adherence to the lockdown regulations.

"In other areas, patrollers are tasked with ensuring the safety of community members which include stop-and-searches for any dangerous weapons, providing general information on the surroundings as well as safety tips. The community patrollers are located at police stations and they complement the work of the police."

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