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Failed plan to hack Sassa and steal grant money lands three behind bars

27 July 2020 - 17:44 By Naledi Shange
Three men who intended to defraud Sassa of cash have been arrested in Mbombela.
Three men who intended to defraud Sassa of cash have been arrested in Mbombela.
Image: South African Gov‏ via Twitter

Three men who were allegedly planning to hack the Sassa system and steal money intended for social grants have been arrested, the Hawks said on Monday.

The three — Matholeni Sydwell Masilela, Brian Mfundo Masina and Moses Khumalo — were arrested on Friday and have made their first appearance at the Nelspruit magistrate’s court.

“Masilela, Masina and Khumalo were arrested in Nelspruit [Mbombela] during an intelligence-driven operation by the Hawks' serious corruption investigation unit together with cyber crime, the local criminal record centre and the South African Social Security Agency [Sassa],” said Hawks spokesperson Capt Dineo Sekgotodi.

“An electronic device which was intended to be used to extract information including a laptop, a scanner, Sassa cards and the suspect’s vehicle were seized during the operation.”

If the ploy had worked, the trio would have had access to Sassa beneficiaries' accounts.  

It was not immediately clear whether any of them had ties to Sassa.

The three face charges of corruption, fraud, conspiracy to commit an offence and contravention of the Electronic Communications Act.

Their case was postponed to August 3 for their addresses to be verified and at which point they will possibly apply for bail.