Fake births, IDs probed

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Fake identity documents and birth certificates "that look genuine" are some of the fraudulent documents produced by 400000 members of the public to obtain social grants.

On Monday Zola Skweyiya, the minister of social development, announced that an investigation was under way to bring those illegally obtaining social grants to book.

The culprits include people in the private, public and government sector. The money lost by the government is estimated to run into hundreds of millions of rands.

Vusi Mahaye, spokesman for the South African Social Security Agency, which will conduct the investigation, said fraudsters have been producing fraudulent IDs, birth certificates and medical certificates to gain social grants.

Mahaye said many fake documents looked genuine.

What was even more unbelievable, Mahaye said, was that people "made" birth certificates and lied about a child's age to qualify for a grant.

Mahaye said that members of staff in the Department of Social Development were fraudulently receiving grants while members of the public received grants for people who did not exist.

"In order to stop these fraudsters, all government departments should treat this problem as a challenge that needs all of us to work together," he said.

Lakela Kuanda, social development spokesman, said the ongoing investigation had saved the government R1,2billion since last year.