Social grant fraud the most reported complaint - Public Service Commission

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Sassa card.
Sassa card.
  • A PSC bulletin shows that the majority of social grant fraud cases reported involved pension, disability and child grants. 
  • The PSC noted that Sassa needed to strengthen its internal controls over the management of social grants. 
  • According to the bulletin, procurement irregularities have also accounted for a large proportion of reported cases of alleged corruption.  

Social grant fraud has been reported the most between the financial years 2017/18 and 2020/21, according to the Public Service Commission's (PSC) quarterly bulletin.

Of the 3 653 cases of alleged corruption received between the 2017/18-2020/21 financial years, grant fraud was the highest, with 2 400 (66%) cases. 

READ | Former Sassa clerk and boyfriend sentenced for R1.2m social grant fraud

According to the bulletin, in September 2004, Cabinet mandated the PSC to manage the newly established National Anti-Corruption Hotline (NACH), which was an amalgamation of anti-corruption hotlines managed by different departments. 

The bulletin outlined that the NACH had also become one of the most useful instruments for reporting complaints during Covid-19 lockdown in the country, and had provided tip-offs to Sassa for complaints about food parcels, fraudulent use of grant cards and the R350 social relief grant.

"The majority of social grant fraud cases involve pension, disability and child support grants, committed by members of the public as well as officials.

"The consequences in the occurrences of social grant fraud are twofold. Not only is there a financial implication when a loss occurs, but the actual beneficiary who qualified to receive the grant suffers. Therefore, Sassa must strengthen their internal controls in the management of social grants," the PSC said in the bulletin.

It also reported that the second highest number of cases reported were those of unethical behaviour, totalling 377 (10.3%) during the 2017/18 to 2020/21 financial years.

From the 377 cases, 255 were recorded during 2019/20 and 62 in 2018/19.

READ | Lockdown left 13 million pupils without any form of adequate schooling - PSC

Cases of other forms of misconduct included officials requesting bribes from the public and offering them jobs, officials not reporting or arriving late without permission, and officials going on leave without submitting the relevant forms. 

"The appointment irregularities account for 316 (9%) of the matters reported through the NACH in the 2017/2018 - 2020/2021 financial years. Of the 316 cases, the highest number of 185 cases were recorded in the 2019/2020 financial year compared to 100 cases recorded in the 2018/2019 financial year." 

The PSC also noted that most of the appointment irregularity cases reported through the NACH involved senior managers.

Various complaints

It also outlined that service delivery-related complaints accounted for 295 (7%) of the matters reported via the NACH between the 2017/18-2020/21 financial years.

From the 295 cases, 211 were during 2019/20.

The PSC said complaints reported varied from poor service delivery regarding communication, complaints against police officers, and other general complaints. 

It added that procurement irregularities also accounted for a large proportion of reported cases on alleged corruption in the 2017/2018-2020 and 2020/21 financial years with 165 (5%) cases.

The PSC said it had dealt with a total of 106 complaints for the period of 1 April to 30 June 2020.

Forty of those complaints were received directly from the NACH system and 66 from other methods of reporting.

"Despite challenges encountered due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as at 30 June 2020, 19 (18%) of the 106 complaints were finalised and 87 (82%) were in progress.

"The number of complaints dealt with in the first quarter of the 2020/2021 financial year is lesser than that dealt with in the same period of the 2018/19 and 2019/2020 financial years."

*Compiled by Sesona Ngqakamba

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