The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has recently stated that the agency has suffered devastating financial losses due to fraud. This was reported during a parliamentary briefing.
SASSA has reported that it has suffered devastating financial losses due to fraud which has been committed by wealthy individuals who earn millions. These individuals benefited from the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant.
On Wednesday, Sassa and the Department of Social Development briefed Parliament on annual reports and audit findings. Sassa officials explained that the agency experienced several challenges and also received an unqualified audit opinion from the Auditor-General.
Sassa’s spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi stated that the fraudsters have been identified and a case has been opened with the South African Police Service (SAPS). The agency’s fraud unit has begun processes to address the fraudulent activity.
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Letsatsi stated that once the arrests have been made they will be reported, however, Sassa does not know when these arrests will take place since they do not supervise SAPS. “We have got confidence that those individuals who defrauded the state will face the full might of the law,” said Sassa’s spokesperson.
Busisiwe Memela-Khambula, Sassa’s CEO, said that there were 16 million fraudulent applications. These fraudsters included government tenders and company directors.
“These are about 16 million people who we were proactively able to detect that these people are applying, but have already benefitted from other systems or they have alternative income. Some are even having alternative income of as much as a million (rand),” said Sassa’s CEO.
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Memela-Khambula also explained that some spaza shop owners benefitted from business or government tenders. In an effort to address the fraudulent behaviour, Sassa is in the process of developing a fraud detection system.
The fraud detection system will allow the agency to easily identify fraudulent activities. According to Sassa’s CEO, the agency also faced fraudulent activity centred around the disability and old age grant.
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