30 gogos arrested for milking social grants

Sassa social grants card. File photo
Sassa social grants card. File photo
Image: South African government‏ via Twitter

An unlikely group of women accused of being thieves has been arrested as part of a special police operation called "Project Combat".

Free State police Brig Sam Makhele said 30 suspects are implicated in defrauding the state through social grants, and will now stand trial on a charge of fraud. They were arrested this week.

The project, which was launched in July 2018, was informed by crime intelligence-led information on fraud committed by undeserving Sassa beneficiaries who were applying for government grants, Makhele said.

Among those arrested is a 41-year-old woman alleged to be the mastermind behind the scam.

Makhele said she was issuing people with fraudulent doctor's referral letters, qualifying them to apply for grants.

She would allegedly charge them various amounts ranging from R200 for the service.

Various fraudulent documents and stamps were found at her house.

"It is alleged that this woman made unsuspecting victims to believe that she was a doctor's assistant, who was authorised with performing these duties whilst the doctor was on leave," Makhele said.

Saps Lt-Gen Moeketsi Sempe said the investigation was ongoing.

“This is the first phase of the operation, more arrests are imminent. Any form of fraud and corruption against government will not be tolerated. We will arrest whoever is involved without fear of favour," stated Sempe.

Beneficiaries are advised to call Sassa on 0800 60 1011 whenever they are offered services relating to grants for money, no matter how little the charge.

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