Pensioners wait in a queue at a Sassa pay point in Mpumalanga. Picture: SOWETAN
Pensioners wait in a queue at a Sassa pay point in Mpumalanga. Picture: SOWETAN

The SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) has stopped 6‚000 “fraudulent” grants payments in less than a month.

“In a move to combat the prevalent fraud targeting social grants‚ Sassa stopped 6‚000 payments and the figure went down substantially to 500 in the August payment cycle‚” said Sassa spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi.

The decline‚ according to Sassa‚ is a result of “stringent” measures put in place by the agency and the SA Post Office (Sapo) to combat fraud.

To uncover the fraud‚ Sassa said it went through an intensive process of studying the trends so that the modus operandi of the fraudsters was exposed.

“Subsequently, systems and controls were tightened. We can confidently say that the noose has tightened on these criminals and the law will deal harshly with them. In the recent past‚ the courts have not only sentenced people found guilty of social grant fraud but has issued orders for them to repay what they stole from the state‚” said Letsatsi.

He said the agency is working with relevant stakeholders, including all banks, to ensure that fraud within the grants system is defeated.

“Sassa is committed to addressing fraud and will continue to do verification of bank details. This means that if a record is not corrected with both Sassa and the bank‚ the payment will not go through every month‚” Letsatsi said.

“Any innocent and affected beneficiaries whose payments have been stopped‚ are advised to make an affidavit at a police station,” Letsatsi said.

“The affidavit should confirm the correctness of bank details and account holder details. After making an affidavit‚ the beneficiary must take their bar-coded or smartcard ID together with the completed affidavit, to Sassa or the post office.” 

Beneficiaries using personal banks should bring proof of banking details from their banks‚ Letsatsi said, adding that, “Sassa wishes to apologise unreservedly for any convenience that might arise.”