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Action to be taken against 5,812 government officials over R350 grant fraud, says Lindiwe Zulu

20 May 2022 - 09:50
Social development minister Lindiwe Zulu. File photo.
Social development minister Lindiwe Zulu. File photo.
Image: GCIS

Social development minister Lindiwe Zulu says an investigation has been launched to bring to book more than 5,000 government officials who benefited from the R350 social relief of distress (SRD) grant.

Responding to a written parliamentary question this week, Zulu said her department was working with the police, the National Prosecution Authority (NPA), the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) and the department of public service and administration (DPSA) discipline management unit to investigate 5,812 cases of officials caught for fraud. 

A December 2021 report from the office of the auditor-general found the government officials fraudulently applied for and received the R350 grant to the value of R5.8m.

While thousands of officials were caught in the act of doing so, a sample of 242 civil servants was taken “to learn from it through identification of challenges and their resolution”.

She said the investigation of the 242 found that “44 civil servants qualified to receive SRD grants as they were employed on a sessional basis, resulting in 198 civil servants to be taken for disciplinary and criminal action”.

“Of the 198 civil servants, the department of public service advised that 44 were no longer in the employ of government, resulting in 154 disciplinary files being handed over to the department for co-ordination and monitoring of the disciplinary hearings with departments at the provincial and national level.”  

Zulu said if government officials refused to sign an acknowledgment of debt the Criminal Procedure Act will be invoked.

Regarding the 5,812 public servants, the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) intends to finalise two processes on or before September 31:

  • handing over files to the department for disciplinary hearings co-ordination with affected national and provincial departments; and
  • opening criminal cases within various provinces.

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