Sassa: Proof of life investigations must be improved, asks DA

Henry

Given the millions in Sassa grants that have been transferred to deceased beneficiaries, the minister should consider moving the proof of life checks closer to the payment dates.

So says Bridget Masango, the DA’s shadow minister for social development.

The DA also believes it is “backhanded” of Minister Lindiwe Zulu to blame vulnerable and distraught families for not reporting the deaths of South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) beneficiaries, when they could not contact the Sassa offices do not contact

RNews earlier reported that more than R140 million had been paid out to 74 000 Sassa beneficiaries in the past three financial years, although they had already passed away.

“Last year, the DA found that only 4.7% of the 212 Sassa offices nationwide answered their phones. Only 48 offices (22.6%) had a working telephone line. The rest’s telephone numbers were incorrect or no number was indicated,” says Masango.

Another DA investigation found that a total of 39,645 civil servants violated the Social Assistance Act in 2023 and fraudulently received allowances.

“So far, Sassa has only filed 1,815 cases with the police and only 42 civil servants have faced consequence management.”

The DA will direct follow-up questions to the minister to determine how much of the wrongly paid money has been recovered through Sassa’s debt recovery systems.

“We will also appeal to the minister of interior affairs, dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, conducts an audit to determine what percentage of deaths in South Africa are reported within the required 72 hours. We will also request an investigation to determine whether these incorrect payments form part of a scheme to defraud the state.”