The recent arrests of two post office cashiers in Butterworth in the Eastern Cape for allegedly defrauding R4.1 million worth of Sassa money raises concerns about the widespread nature of this theft within post offices across the country.
According to Natasha Mazzone, the DA’s shadow minister for communications and digital technologies, there is an urgent need for preventive measures to prevent such crimes from prevailing at the post office.
“Once again, the South African Post Office (Sapo), together with its employees, is embroiled in a wave of rampant theft involving Sassa grants, money intended for the most vulnerable members of our society,” says Mazzone.
This alarming trend is exacerbated by the closure of more than 300 post offices in the past three years, leaving the remaining facilities mostly dilapidated, inaccessible and dysfunctional, Mazzone says.
“As a result, Sassa recipients are burdened with the task of traveling long distances to collect their much-needed monthly allowances, spending a significant portion of their money on transport. Now is the time to prioritize the establishment of a secure and fraud-free system to pay out Sassa grants promptly.
“The current state of Sapo, which remains partially liquidated with no clear path to recovery, calls for swift action to ease the burden facing Sassa beneficiaries.”
In addition, Mazzone says recent budget review presentations from the Department of Communications and Digital Technology expose the inefficiency and dysfunctionality of this government body. “The consistent mismanagement, looting and theft raises serious questions about the extent of the suffering the South African public endures due to sheer incompetence.”