Corrupt public servants in the soup

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

About 5391 disciplinary case files of public servants convicted of defrauding the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) have been handed over to their respective national and provincial departments for disciplinary action.

This was revealed yesterday by Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya.

He said a total of 6693 public servants charged with fraudulently obtaining social grants were taken to court by the end of December last year.

"They work for various national and provincial government departments.

"The Special Investigating Unit was responsible for the investigation and preparation of the disciplinary files," said Skweyiya.

He said the focus of the investigation since the inception of the project was on public servants who had permanent positions in the public service, but deliberately misrepresented their positions to obtain social grants.

Skweyiya said the special investigating unit had referred the cases to the relevant national departments via the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA), and to the relevant provincial departments.

"I have accepted the proposal from the DPSA for the cases to be prioritised as well, and to be dealt with through the progressive disciplinary process.

"Arrangements will be made to forward the cases to departments and provinces via the DPSA and premiers' offices respectively,'' said Skweyiya.

In April 2005, Skweyiya tasked the Special Investigating Unit to investigate fraud, corruption and maladministration that was rife in the social grant system.

"Almost three years on, there has been a dramatic turnaround in the social grant system, from one riddled with irregularities and fraud to a system that South Africans can be more proud of," said Skweyiya.

He said the Sassa system was being systematically cleansed to ensure that the gaps which allowed problems to occur were closed.

"Regular audits of the social pension system have been introduced and has resulted in a number of repeat public servant offenders being rapidly identified and singled out for harsher legal penalties," he said.