As reported by Times Live, Brigadier Sam Makhele confirmed that at least 30 suspects are implicated SASSA pension grant fraud. They were arrested in the Free State earlier this week and appeared in court on Wednesday, 15 May.
The arrests were made following the investigation conducted by Project Combat. The operation was launched in July 2018 and targets people who fraudulently apply for welfare grants.
The investigation continues
The project is only in its initial stages. Authorities suspect more arrests will follow as the investigation in SASSA fraud continues. They are also calling on the public to report any incidents of fraud as it “will not be tolerated.”
Five men and thirty women were arrested, however, two women were not charged. Furthermore, the remaining beneficiaries were granted bail of R500 each, bar the mastermind behind the SASSA fraud scheme.
“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.”
SAPS Lt-Gen Moeketsi Sempe, Free State.
Fraudulent referral letters
A 41-year-old woman was reportedly the mastermind behind the scheme and would issue fraudulent doctor’s referral letters. Makhele explained:
“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.”
Earlier this year, SASSA warned the public against a man advertising the sale of fraudulent SASSA cards on Facebook.
The public is urged to call SASSA on when they are offered services relating to grants for money, as their services will always be “be free and not for sale.”
In January, SASSA Acting CEO, Abraham Mahlangu, confirmed that SASSA officials will never ask for money to issue a SASSA card. He added:
“Beneficiaries are reminded to keep their PINs secret and not to disclose their card and ID numbers at all. Beneficiaries of social grants need to be extra vigilant as there are many fraudsters who will target the innocent and vulnerable. They should call SASSA on 0800601011 whenever they are offered any service relating to social grants for money, no matter how little the charge is. SASSA is not involved in any other business except the payment of social grants.”