Eight Sassa officials accused of defrauding the welfare agency of R35 million have been granted bail.
The eight were among 14 suspects who appeared in the Bellville Magistrates’ Court yesterday on charges of fraud.
Eric Ntabazalila of the National Prosecuting Authority says the eight South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) employees were granted bail between R3000 and R5000.
Ntabazalila says: “The matter will be back on the roll on 7 July and 9 September. The reason there are two different dates is because there are different charge sheets.”
The 14 were brought into court in groups of two and three as they were represented by five different lawyers and a Legal Aid attorney.
The group, most of whom were arrested on Friday, looked vuil, except for the alleged mastermind, Nelisiwe Msimango, who looked cool and calm.
She was one of the six suspects who were denied bail.
More than a dozen family members of the accused were seen at court.
At one point, the baby of accused Asanda Cebisa started crying in the passage outside court.
Cebisa was told by the Magistrate to look to the front and concentrate.
The mom sobbed when she heard she did not get bail as she has other pending fraud cases.
After a month-long investigation by the Sassa’s Fraud Management and Compliance Department (FMCD), the matter had been handed over to the Hawks who swooped on the alleged syndicate on Friday.
It’s believed they stole R35 million from Sassa after opening false accounts.
Seventeen people in all have been nabbed, the other three are expected to appear in court soon.
FMCD head, Renay Ogle, and Lloyd Chianeo of the Hawks attended the court proceedings.
Renay says: “The investigation is ongoing and we hope these thieves will realise we are not going to let them do this. We are going to continue till it’s all over.”
The eight officials who were granted bail are: Mavis Padi, Moses Vincent Piyat, Matshidiso Divine Mosupa, Tebogo Divine Letebel, Nomvuyiselo Gladys Phoyana, Nontsikelelo Nikiwe Phoyana, Anna Manna Letsoha, and Keamogetswe Gabayo.
The six who will remain behind bars are: Nelisiwe Msimango, Eliot Jilingisi, Asanda Cebisa, Nombuyiselo Sigcau,Ntsikilelo Mpehendukana and Nosipho Majola.
On Friday, Jilingisi and Cebisa will be back in court for previous charges brought against them.