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A Limpopo municipal councillor appeared in court yesterday on charges of defrauding the government after she was found to have registered three children for a foster-care grant.
Councillor Salminah Mabitsela of the Capricorn District Municipality appeared in the Vlakfontein magistrates' court.
The case has been postponed until February 1 next year.
Mabitsela allegedly approached an elderly woman who was looking after three children. Mabitsela allegedly offered to look after the children by registering them so that they could receive a government grant. After registering herself as their legal guardian, Mabitsela allegedly gave the children back into the care of the elderly women without giving them any money.
The matter came to light when a concerned citizen told social workers about the poor family's desperate living conditions.
When the social workers went to investigate, they tried to register the children for child grants but were told the children were already being paid every month.
The social workers investigated and discovered that the money was being deposited into the politician's bank account. The social workers advised the old woman to report the matter to the "relevant authorities". She approached the Limpopo legislature. Spokesman Kenny Mathivha yesterday confirmed that was aware of the case.
He said his department had taken it upon themselves to inform law enforcement officers.
"It is a crime against humanity to deprive poor children while you have an income that is more than enough to look after your needs," Mathivha said.
"Also, as a politician Mabitsela should have acted humanely by taking care of the children, instead of stealing from the government the money that was intended for the little ones."