Independent investigation of Sassa beneficiaries demanded

Henry

After revelations of irregular and improper payments of Sassa grants, the DA requests Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa to conduct an independent audit of the database of Sassa beneficiaries.

“The purpose of an independent audit is to review the integrity of data, to identify unlawful recipients and to introduce processes to recover money that has been improperly paid out,” says Bridget Masango, the DA’s shadow minister for social development.

RNews earlier reported that Minister Lindiwe Zulu revealed in response to a parliamentary question from the DA that the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) has paid out an amount of R140 million to 75 000 deceased beneficiaries in the past three financial years.

In a separate matter, the Minister of Public Service and Administration, Sizwe Mchunu, revealed in response to a parliamentary question from the DA that 5,812 Covid-19 allowances and 33,833 social allowances were paid out to undeserving civil servants. It was canceled after it was found that the applicants or beneficiaries violated the Social Assistance Act when they provided false information.

“These two reactions are clear evidence that the integrity of the databases used to pay social grants cannot be trusted. It can cost the taxpayer millions of rand if payments are made to illegal persons,” says Masango. “If these databases will continue to be used, despite the clear shortcomings, it will be extremely irresponsible and an unacceptable dereliction of duty by Ramaphosa as head of the executive authority.”

The DA is also concerned that there seems to be no sustained effort to recover money that has been paid out irregularly.

“Despite 40,000 violations, the civil service system only took disciplinary action against 42 of the civil service officials concerned for improper conduct. This is just a drop in the ocean when the extent of the fraud is taken into account.”

The DA believes that in addition to the recovery of the money that was fraudulently lost, criminal investigations must also be instituted against all individuals involved. “Disciplinary steps cannot be taken in a case where the law has obviously been broken.”