Zulu: SASSA has lost R282 million to fraudsters over past 5 years

- Minister Lindiwe Zulu has revealed that SASSA lost R282 million to fraud over the past five years

- Over 180 officials have been suspended and 76 dismissed on fraud charges during the same period of time

- This grim state of affairs at the SA Social Security Agency was detailed in response to an EFF Parliamentary question

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Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has revealed that millions have been looted from the SA Social Security Agency over the course of the past five years.

Zulu explained that a total of 182 officials have been placed on suspension while only 76 were dismissed on charges of fraud during this time.

This came in response to a Parliamentary question from Economic Freedom Fighters MP Laetitia Arries, who had asked how many officials had looted SASSA funds over the last years.

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Arries had wanted to know how much had been looted and what measures had been put into place to stop fraud in the agency, reports News24. To this question, Zulu had issued a written response with the minister explaining that:

“The total amount of money lost through fraud over the past five years is approximately R282 476 193.”

Of the suspended officials, only 26 had been placed on suspension without pay benefits and a total of 258 fraud cases had been opened on a national level.

DFA reports that the minister had noted that the highest instances of fraud at the agency had taken place in KwaZulu-Natal:

“KwaZulu-Natal recorded the highest numbers in precautionary and dismissal categories. Overall KwaZulu-Natal accounts 55%, which is the highest compared to other regions."

118 KZN officials had been suspended while 25 had been dismissed, according to Zulu, who noted that 15 officials in Mpumalanga had been suspended while two were dismissed.

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The minister also confirmed that there are no fraud cases reported at the agency's head offices.

The Eastern Cape and Limpopo provinces were lauded by Zulu, who noted 41 dismissals in total:

“It is pleasing to note the firm stance taken by both regions to ensure behavioural change when it comes to fraud."

Zulu further explained that the agency had a fraud prevention strategy which looks at prevention, detection, investigation and resolution. Training for staff and corruption awareness sessions were noted with Zulu commenting that fraud detection reviews were conducted regularly.

Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that the Covid-19 grant announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa to provide some relief during lockdown had attracted some criticism.

Numerous citizens lamented a lack of payment in addition to a number of people claiming that they had been rejected despite meeting the criteria.

This had prompted SASSA to have another look at applications and later approving millions of rejected requests for aid.

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