In a statement on Monday, the DA expressed concern about a report claiming there has already been fraud in the SA Post Office’s administration of SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) grants since they took over the payments from Cash Paymaster Services.
DA MP Bridget Masango said the the Post Office’s ability to safely manage the payments of grants to 10 million poor and vulnerable South Africans had been called into question following a reported investigation into multimillion-rand grant payment card fraud.
The DA subsequently wrote to the chairperson of parliament’s portfolio committee on social development, Mondli Gungubele, to request the Post Office grant fraud report be tabled before parliament for scrutiny.
“Many pensioners and social grants beneficiaries believed that the migration from the former Sassa card to the new South African Post Office (SAPO) card would bring an end to fraudulent and opportunistic activities that have plagued the grant system for years. Regrettably, this has not been the case as the investigation reportedly found that security features of the SAPO payment system have been irretrievably compromised.”
Millions of social grant recipients and their dependants would suffer if this fraud remained unabated, she said.
“It is deplorable that poor South Africans have to bear the brunt because opportunistic criminals are stealing money meant to assist the most vulnerable groups in our society.
During the department of social development’s budget vote in August, Minister Lindiwe Zulu had announced that the pandemic days of fraud against the department were supposedly “over”, “and the R68 million has been set to investigate social grant system fraud will amongst other things make sure all Sassa beneficiaries are paid”.
“This report shows complete absence of tighter systems and control and total failure of good governance and best practice surrounding information security, [which has] has created an environment in which fraudsters can easily rob money meant to bring relief for poor and vulnerable groups. It is for this reason that SAPO and Sassa should appear before Parliament to account for the details of this report,” said Masango.
“Parliament must use its oversight authority to hold those found to be involved in these repugnant acts of theft accountable.”
(Compiled by Charles Cilliers)