Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The agency responsible for the payment of social grants to 17-million beneficiaries in the country  is still to report to the Public Service Commission (PSC)  on the status of fraud and corruption investigations made against its employees.

The commission referred  more than 180 complaints to the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) for investigation between April and September 2018 and has thus far received no feedback from the agency.

These included allegations made through the National Anti Corruption Hotline that there were government officials receiving social grants even though they are not eligible.

The details are contained in the PSC’s report on the state of the public service for the period between April and September 2018.

The government spends more than R150bn annually on social grants.

The PSC said: “Social grant fraud is the cause of concern in the country since monies allocated for poor people are not utilised for intended purposes.”

Sassa declined to comment. 

The PSC received 472 complaints of allegations of corruption during the first and second quarter of 2018/2019. 

A total of 186 complaints were reported and referred to government departments by the PSC during the first quarter, while the number increased to 286 cases in the second quarter. 

Social grant fraud was at the top of the six categories of complaints received through the anti corruption hotline. Others were about appointment irregularities, unethical behaviour and poor service delivery. 

The whistle-blowers who made the complaints are protected in terms of the Protected Disclosure Amendment Act, which makes an allowance for workers to report allegations of corruption and maladministration to the PSC.

Sassa is bound by a memorandum of understanding entered into with the PSC that dictates that cases of social grant fraud “should be referred to Sassa for investigation and the agency  should provide feedback on the outcomes of the investigation to the PSC for updating on the case management system”.

However, the report  said there was “no information received from Sassa on the completion of investigation of these cases”.

This means the PSC is unable to ascertain that the agency has instituted the investigations as per the memorandum of understanding.

mahlakoanat@businesslive.co.za