The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) in Limpopo has moved swiftly to suspend five of its senior officials after allegations that they were involved in the irregular appointments of officials.
The officials were suspended with full pay with effect from Tuesday - pending investigations into their activities.
This follows allegations that they were involved in the appointment of some officials without following proper employment procedures.
The suspended officials are Chris Mboweni, the senior manager for human capital management; Norman Kutama, manager for executive support; Seenatso Riba, district manager in Sekhukhune; Samson Mamabolo, district manager in Capricorn; and Ofentse Ledwaba, district manager in Waterberg.
The officials were initially served with letters of intent to suspend them last Friday.
According to the letters, they had seven working days to present their case as to why they should not be suspended.
But they were surprised to receive suspension letters on Tuesday.
The officials, however, believe it' s a move to purge those believed to have supported former premier Sello Moloto in his bid to retain the reins of the ANC in the province.
Moloto, who has since resigned as premier and had joined Cope, lost to new premier Cassel Mathale.
"We are surprised at our suspensions because we did not have powers to appoint any official in the first place," said an official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
He said they saw it coming after several warnings by the "powers-that-be" that those who had been aligned to Moloto would be dealt with.
"We are waiting with bated breath to know the charges against us as this is just a tip of the iceberg," said another official.
In its suspension letters, signed by regional executive manager Miriam Segabutla, Sassa indicated that the officials would be replaced by others on an acting basis.