Five South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) officials have been convicted on charges of corruption in relation to the distribution of fraudulent grants. The verdict comes after a broader investigation by the agency and the Provincial Department of Social Development into a spate of illegal cash deductions from the accounts of Sassa beneficiaries.
According to reports the accused, Siviwe Matatu, Xolani Toko, Dideka Tosha, Thumeka Nguque and Phatheka Nodada are believed to have added applications of individuals not entitled to receive social grants onto the agency’s systems. Two further individuals unaffiliated to Sassa, Nokwaka Mteto and Thabane Meselane have also been implicated in the scam and are accused of collected the details of fraudulent applicants and passing it on to the Sassa staff.
Western Cape Social Development MEC, Albert Fritz said the department were convinced that there were still individuals within Sassa involved in a syndicate of fraud and corruption.
“We have developed a very good system with Sassa itself where we receive a complaint, analyse it and refer it to Sassa. They’ve been very good in trying to assist in rooting out the corrupt elements within their department,” he acknowledged.
A warrant of arrest has been issued for Mteto who absconded from court during proceedings. Fritz assured that all accused would be apprehended and held to account for their actions.
“We can’t wait for police to get hold of them. All the others within Sassa who are still busy stealing money from the old and the poor will be found. I’m very happy, and in fact we must celebrate the fact that we actually secured a conviction on this matter in court,” he stated.
There have also been some accusations that officials within the DA-led Western Cape government approved housing grants in George, towards individuals who did not necessarily qualify for such assistance. Fritz said they were aware of the case, and if the claims proved true then said individual need feel the full force of the law.
“You can be from whatever party and there is no party that can absolve you. We don’t turn a blind eye in this Western Cape government. We will come after you, you shall be found and you shall be convicted,” he assured.
Fritz urged grant recipients not to forfeit any personal or account information to those who telephonically contacted them under the guise of working for Sassa, as this was more than likely to be a scam.
From 2010 the department has been dealing with more than 600 alleged cases of corruption in the social grants sector. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)