The DA welcomes the investigation into the 5 812 public servants who fraudulently applied for and benefitted from the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant for the month of May 2020 at a cost of R5.8 million to the State.
According to a written reply to a DA Parliamentary question by the Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, a multi-stakeholder forum comprised of her Department, the South African Police Service (SAPS), the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the Financial Intelligence Centre and the Discipline Management Unit of the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) is working under the auspices of the Fusion Centre to investigate the 5 812 cases involving public servants who fraudulently applied for and benefitted from the SRD grant.
The DA first exposed the issue in March 2021 and immediately called for the implicated public servants to be investigated and if necessary, also subjected to disciplinary and criminal processes.
It is not clear if government would have picked up on the issue had the DA not first exposed it and kept putting pressure on the Department of Social Development (DSD) and the DPSA to ensure that the implicated public servants are investigated, subjected to disciplinary processes and also face the full might of the law.
In her written reply, Minister Zulu also states that on or before 31 September 2022, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) intends to ensure that two processes take place. The first is that SASSA will hand over the necessary files to the DPSA to ensure disciplinary hearing coordination and the second will see SASSA open criminal cases against the implicated public servants within the various provinces.
We owe it to the public to ensure that come the 31 September 2022, SASSA has in fact followed through on these two processes. It is on this basis that the DA will submit further follow-up questions to Minister Zulu.
The DA will not rest until the implicated public servants pay back the money that they stole from the State and are totally rooted out of the public service system.