The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has developed a fraud prevention strategy and exercises zero tolerance to any person who commits fraud in the social grant environment.
SASSA received reports that more than 1 500 City of Johannesburg employees were recipients of COVID-19 social grants, which were meant for unemployed South Africans.
“It is precisely because of the implementation of this strategy that the City of Johannesburg employees were identified. In addition, SASSA and the City of Johannesburg have been co-operating on this matter since July 2020,” said SASSA CEO, Totsie Memela.
The strategy also revealed that 4 726 social grant beneficiaries withdrew their payments outside the South African borders during the lockdown period. Which meant that those recipients were residents in neighbouring countries.
On Friday a statement was released which mentioned that these payments were suspended in September, as grant recipients need to be in South Africa.
Beneficiaries are encouraged to always be honest and update SASSA if their financial circumstances change.
Memela further added that through the implementation of the special relief grant of R350 per month, SASSA has been able to access databases from other government departments to validate the income of applicants for the grant.
“The relationships developed during this pandemic will greatly assist SASSA in strengthening its validation processes, even for the long-term social grants in the future. This will enable checks to be done to ensure that the financial information provided is complete and that grants are indeed provided to those who qualify for the grants,” she reiterated.
Furthermore, every citizen in this country has a responsibility to report wrongdoing and this extends to the reporting of grants being received by citizens who do not qualify for them.
“Unfortunately, it appears that it is acceptable for citizens to take from government with impunity as it is government money and there is plenty more where that comes from rather than to understand that the money being used is taxpayers’ money.
“Everyone who receives what they are not entitled to is in fact taking away from someone who depends on that money.”
SASSA said it will continue to call on citizens to report the misuse and incorrect payment of social grants and promised to continue preventing fraud.
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé