NATIONAL NEWS - The Public Service Commission (PSC) has revealed that social grant fraud recorded the highest number of alleged corruption cases in the 2017/2018 – 2020/2021 financial years, which stood at 2,400.
Social grant fraud is one of the five common cases of alleged corruption reported to the national anti-corruption hotline (NACH) identified along with unethical behaviour, appointment irregularities, service delivery and procurement irregularities.
Speaking on the Quarterly Bulletin on Tuesday, 15 September PSC commissioner Michael Seloane said the number made up 66% of the total number (3,653) of the alleged corruption cases.
“Of the 2,400 cases, a highest number of 1,007 cases were recorded in the 2019/2020 financial year compared to 727 cases recorded in the 2018/2019 financial year.”
Seloane said the majority of social grant fraud cases involved pension, disability and child support grant committed by members of the public as well as officials.
“The consequences in the occurrences of social grant fraud are twofold. Not only is there a financial implication when a loss occurs, but the actual beneficiary who qualified to receive the grant suffers.
The commissioner indicated that the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) needed to strengthen its internal controls in the management of social grants.
Seloane further said unethical behaviour, service delivery, appointment and procurement irregularities in the public service were also of great concern.
“Some officials request bribes from members of the public promising them jobs or requesting money from foreign nationals in exchange for issuing them with identity documents or permits or processing their application on time.
“Other issues include poor record-keeping throughout the recruitment and selection process. Also failure to register applications in the applicants’ master list.”
He added that the majority of cases (66%) were referred to Sassa for investigation while the rest of the cases were referred to national and provincial departments for investigation.
“The PSC is concerned that departments are taking an extended period of time in providing feedback to the PSC despite the fact that whistleblowers are requesting feedback on progress made with investigations.
“Generally many investigations are prolonged due to a variety of factors like complexity and retrieval of supporting information.”