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By Kyle Zeeman

Digital News Editor

R1 000 to get a grant: Sassa old age grant kickback ‘scheme’ uncovered

More than R38 000 had already been handed over in the alleged Sassa old age grant scheme.

Police have nabbed a 70-year-old suspect after a South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) whistleblower exposed an alleged scheme to sign people up for old age grants for an alleged R1 000 kickback.

The suspect and another were on Wednesday arrested at Sassa’s office in Roodeport, Johannesburg. They are expected to appear in the dock on Friday. They face charges of corruption and possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammo.

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, or Hawks, said the two had approached the official with a plan to get people on the old age grant payment list for R1 000 each.

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“The suspects are said to have promised that each application would be handed in accompanied with R1 000 for processing,” said Hawks spokesperson Katlego Mogale.

More than R38 000 had already been handed over in the scheme.

“The initial batch of 15 applications were handed to the employee with R15 000 enticements to process the application outside of the normal procedure.

“The second batch of 20 applications and R23 150 were handed over on Wednesday,” Mogale added.

Additional charges were laid against the pair after police found an unlicensed firearm and ammo in the suspects’ vehicle.

Sassa loses over R50 to fraud and corruption

Last year, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu revealed Sassa had lost more than R50 million to fraud and corruption in two-and-a-half years.

She said this included more than 700 cases and 40 implicated officials.

ALSO READ: R4,000 a month for pensioners and the disabled: The EFF’s plan for social grants

Zulu said the cases against officials “ranged from fraudulent collection of grants intended for deceased individuals, the submission of disability grant applications with falsified medical information, and the illicit collection of child support grants”.

Watch Minister Lindiwe Zulu speak about corruption concerns around Sassa food parcels during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Bridget Masango suggested the agency was toothless in addressing alleged fraud.

“Countless SRD recipients have been defrauded of their ID numbers and personal information, which Sassa cannot resolve, despite countless complaints,” Masango said.