I know the word “nauseous” or the phrase “physically ill” would probably be more appropriate to use, but they wouldn’t adequately and correctly express the absolute disgust and distaste I have for this government department.
Sassa (South African Social Security Agency) was created in 2005 in order to distribute social grants on behalf of the Department of Social Development.
The Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, recently informed Parliament that they had “saved” Sassa money by picking up on, and suspending, the grants of some of those who were illegally receiving them.
Fraud and corruption seems to be such a norm at Sassa that the minister actually wants a pat on the back when they stop it! Is this woman for real?
She has reported that:
- 1 768 employees at the South African Post Office were receiving social grants. Zulu said having identified this, they saved Sassa R1.5 million.
- 4 726 grants were transacted outside South Africa when the borders were closed during the lockdown period. Zulu reported that these grants were suspended saving Sassa about R7m.
- 105 prisoners were receiving social grants.
- Minister Zulu went on to say that while the AGSA identified a total of 80 117 cases in the first three months of this grant, on confirming information, 25 088 people were identified with a value of R8 780 800 as having received the R350 grant to which they were not entitled.
Now maybe I am over-simplifying things here but if I am in charge of a department at my company and extensive fraud keeps being discovered in my department, chances are that I would be held responsible and lose my job.
Apparently it doesn’t work like that if you are being paid by taxpayers’ money.
Minister Zulu just continues to earn her millions of rands with lekker perks and benefits while the masses have to live off the scraps.
Now as if that was not enough, there is also a new Sassa scam doing the rounds.
Skurke claiming to be government employees are skimming social grant cards and stealing the money from the poor.
How it works is that the skelms will approach you and convince you that they are from Sassa, and that they have been instructed to confirm or check that your Sassa card is still valid.
They tell you that you can do this by swiping your card through their device.
But when you swipe your card, this device actually collects and stores your card’s information.
This information is later transferred to a clone card, which is then used to withdraw money out of your Sassa account.
Many people all around the country have fallen prey to this scam already.
Sadly, because people are so desperate and at times gullible, they become vulnerable and fall victim to these skelms.
Don’t become a victim:
– Don’t give your card to anyone to “inspect” or “check” that it is still valid
– Don’t ever swipe your card on any unauthorised devices – especially outside of Sassa offices
– Don’t ever give your Sassa PIN to anyone
– Report any strange activity by individuals requesting your personal information to the police. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Minister Zulu, please stop telling us what is going wrong – and do something to stop it.
By its own admission, Sassa has been a prime target for scammers and criminals throughout the years.
Sassa distributes around 18 million social grants to vulnerable South Africans every month, and they have spent much of the pandemic trying to plug the holes in its overburdened payment systems.
It has recently been reported that Totsie Memela-Khambula, the chief executive of Sassa, promoted a senior manager despite the official being implicated in a R1.3 million procurement-related fraud and corruption investigation.
When does it end? For how long will we be plugging holes?
For how long does corruption and fraud just carry on with no consequence for those involved or in charge?
I would like to say that Sassa needs to stop apologising for their incompetence, but they don’t even have the humility to do that.
Criminals know they can get away with their scams, so they just continue to do so.
Queues remain long.
Our elderly and disabled continue to be disrespected and left outside in harsh weather conditions, with many having to take public transport home after a day of getting nothing accomplished at Sassa.
There are individuals at Sassa who do care and try to help the public, but sadly that seems to be the exception rather than the norm.
Yet, why are we surprised?
The attitude of workers very often reflects the attitude of their leaders.
And if those who lead Sassa and the Department on Social Development just carry on merrily earning their huge salaries whilst the masses suffer, how and when will things change?
I believe that things will only change when government officials – from the lowest to the highest levels – are jailed for their fraud and theft.
Finish and klaar!