By Smanga Kumalo    20-Jul-2012 23:36 UTC+02:00

Smanga Kumalo—Four South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) employees have been arrested in Cape Town in connection with welfare grant fraud. The action comes as the Department of Social Development conducts its nationwide verification process to track irregularities.
The four officials allegedly approved fraudulent disability grants without medical proof of disability as required by law. The SASSA says it will not tolerate such activities.
SASSA CEO, Virginia Peterson says: “If we find that they’ve found themselves vulnerable to corruption, whilst serving a sentence, if they are convicted, we will also take their government pension to recover the money that has been stolen.”
A countrywide campaign to re-register beneficiaries started in April. Since then 25 000 people registered to receive pension payouts have not collected them.
Peterson adds: “We as SASSA with our own team are starting to investigate the 25 000 cases to verify if any of those have trends that indicate fraud is possible.”
Investigations are being conducted in six provinces and about 600 cases have been identified, of which 75 SASSA officials are involved. The Department of Social Development is reportedly owed R 4 million by those who have received grants fraudulently.
Meanwhile, Gauteng police recovered hundreds of social grant files dumped near a taxi rank. The South African Police Service’s Lungelo Dlamini says: “These goods belong to SASSA, we will investigate how they came out of the offices whether they are genuine or fraudulent.”

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