The Umbumbulu woman who defrauded the KwaZulu-Natal department of social welfare of R14million was sentenced to eight years in prison at the Durban commercial crimes court yesterday.
Nombolo Mkhize, 45, will effectively serve five years in jail, with three years suspended for five years. She was also ordered to pay back a total of R11000 over a period of 30 months.
The court also heard from the investigating officer, Inspector Linda Ngcobo, that Mkhize was a habitual gambler and her addiction had cost her a large sum of money.
Mkhize was arrested in 2003 after the national Social Development Department initiated an investigation to probe fraud in KwaZulu-Natal.
Mkhize operated as an agent who recruited members of the public to apply for social grants. She would then take the applicants to a doctor who would provide fraudulent medical reports, recommending that the applicants be considered for social grants.
MEC for social welfare Meshack Radebe, who was in court, said his department would seek legal advice in pursuing the case as he believed that there were more people linked to the scam.