Unit vows to fight state corruption

Sibonelo Mkhwanazi and Zweli Mokgata

Sibonelo Mkhwanazi and Zweli Mokgata

Financial scams in the social grant system and other government departments are eroding taxpayers' money, but the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has vowed to put an end to corruption.

The SIU held a conference yesterday to deal with fraud, corruption and maladministration. The aim of the discussion included a proposal for civil litigation to recover losses suffered by the state and prevent further losses.

SIU head Willie Hofmeyr said that corruption was a serious problem, "but there is some light at the end of the tunnel because the government is injecting substantial amounts of money to counter corruption. So far 22000 civil servants have been removed from the pension system, and about 4000 have been charged," he said.

The past few years have seen an enormous increase in the number of beneficiaries for social grants as the government introduced a child support grant and disability grants became more accessible, leading to increased fraud.

But the SIU is tackling the problem and in the past five years has prevented losses worth R6,7billion in the Correctional Services and Social Development departments, and has recovered millions of rands in stolen money, said SIU spokesman Trinesha Naidoo.