Three grafters found guilty

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

Three civil servants have been found guilty of defrauding the government's social grant system in Mpumalanga.

They were among a group of 34 government officials who appeared in the Witbank magistrates' court on fraud charges on Wednesday.

The three were sentenced to two years' imprisonment or a R10000 fine, half of which was payable immediately and the other half suspended for 10 years.

The three applied to the clerk of the court for a deferred fine and promised to pay within 10 months.

Sarah Lindiwe Masimula, 31, Sarah Duduzile Bhuda, 43, and Irene Refilwe Nonyana, 27, were found guilty. The other 31 are still looking for legal services and will appear in court soon.

Mpho Gabashane, health and social services spokesman, said the arrests should "unequivocally send a clear message to all civil servants and members of the community that government will leave no stone unturned to bring to book those whose actions bring anguish to the poor of the poorest".

"We will continue to do everything possible to defeat this cancer of corruption and fraud because it is a threat to our ability to end poverty," said Gabashane.