The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) is investigating fraudulent cases of those who have wrongfully benefitted from the R350 Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD).
According to IOL, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said that Sassa has referred the matter to the Fusion Centre, which consists of the Financial Intelligence Centre, Special Investigating Unit, State Security Agency, National Prosecuting Authority and SAPS.
Zulu added that government departments have been urged to discipline employees who have managed to obtain the grants in a fraudulent manner.
DA MP Gizella Opperman requested to know how much the auditor-general was defrauded of in the payment of the R350 grants and enquired about the slow progress of the investigation, while her colleague, Mimmy Gondwe, asked for an outline of the total number of implicated public service employees in each sector.
Zulu’s written response, as mentioned by IOL, showed that a total of R11 175 950 was irregularly paid to ineligible beneficiaries while the auditor-general had reportedly identified a total of 67 670 irregular payments.
“Most of these exceptions were mainly as a result of Sassa not having access to the databases that the Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA) had. Sassa immediately stopped payments to all the cases flagged by the AGSA.
“In addition, Sassa has referred the implicated officials to the relevant departments for disciplinary action. The Fusion Centre is working with the Department of Public Service and Administration to ensure that all implicated public servants are pursued,” she said.
Zulu made in known that the R350 Covid-19 SRD grant applications were processed electronically by matching information from different databases and systems, and further mentioned that “Sassa has commenced the process of recovering money paid to the implicated government employees.”