SASSA slammed after nearly 40 000 public servants apply for SRD grants

The DA have called for an investigation into some 40 000 public service employees who applied for the SASSA SRD grant since February.

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has confirmed that despite measures having been put in place to prevent public service employees from applying for Special Relief of Distress (SRD) grants through the Social Security Agency of South Africa (SASSA), nearly 40 000 have done so anyways since February this year. 

The Democratic Alliance (DA) have demanded that SASSA launch an investigation into the 36 972 public service employees who applied for the grant, and insist that the social securities agency must apply itself to recovering funds administered to nearly 250 such employees who applied for relief funds last year. 

DA CALL FOR PROBE INTO SASSA APPLICATIONS  

Mimmy Gondwe, the DA’s Shadow Deputy Minister for Public Service and Administration, said that the latest concession by the department demands that help be sought from the Department of Public Service and Administration to conclude investigations into the employees the applied for funding in 2021. 

“The DA calls on the Social Security Agency of South Africa (SASSA) and the Department of Social Development (DSD) to urgently solicit the assistance of the Department of Public Service and Administration in concluding the investigations into the 36 972 public service employees who applied for the Special Relief of Distress (SRD) grant of R350 per month, as well as the investigations into the 241 public service employees who received the SRD grant for the month of May 2020,” they said. 

The opposition party said that as of February 2021, “an astonishing 39 672 public service employees had applied for the SRD grant”. 

“However, no disciplinary or legal action has been instituted against them as the SASSA-led investigations into their applications are still ongoing and have yet to be concluded.”

This was revealed by Zulu in a written response to a parliamentary question posed by the Democratic Alliance (DA) on Wednesday 24 March.

SASSA YET TO CONCLUDE INVESTIGATIONS INTO MAY 2020 APPLICATIONS

Gondwe further lamented the fact that there has been precious little progress made into investigations into alleged fraud committed by public servants in May 2020. 

“Minister Zulu further disclosed that no legal steps have been taken to recover the grants paid to the 241 public service employees who received the SRD grant for the month of May 2020 as the investigations into these payments are also still ongoing,” she said. 

Gondwe said the a total of R84 350 was paid to public service employees who applied for the SRD grant for the month of May 2020.

SYSTEMS PUT IN PLACE TO PREVENT GOVERNMENT APPLICATIONS

Systems were put in place by SASSA to prevent public service employees from fraudulently and unlawfully applying for an SRD grant last year, as well as a system to ensure that public service employees do not receive the SRD grant by matching the ID numbers of approved and new applicants for the grant against various databases such as the PERSAL and PERSOL databases.

Nevertheless, the DA say they remain concerned that the investigations into the 39 672 implicated public service employees have yet to be concluded.

“Decisive disciplinary and legal action must be taken against these public service employees. The SRD grant is intended solely for the most vulnerable and distressed members of our society and should not be open to abuse by public service employees who are drawing a monthly salary from State coffers,” said Gondwe. 

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