Exposure to financial mismanagement vulnerabilities happens regularly in important and heavily funded government departments. This also holds true for Sassa and the Department of Social Development, as they lost several million in social grant payments last year.
Under the mandate of the Department of Social Development (DSD), Sassa bears the responsibility of ensuring that all qualifying social grant beneficiaries receive their grant payments every month.
In addition to this, as of May 2022, media reports and statistical data have shown that 47% of South Africans rely on social grants as their source of income. As a result of this, Sassa handles and processes a significant portion of the DSD’s budget allocation funds, which consequently, exposes them to vulnerabilities such as financial mismanagement.
A recent statement by the Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG) media reports of between 16 and 28 October 2021 revealed that close to R89,5 million was stolen from Sassa’s accounts from Postbank by either Postbank employees or contractors.
Responding to whether the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) had taken steps to hold the people responsible accountable, the Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu stated that PostBank employees undergo a vetting process that includes the checks listed below.
The vetting of candidates includes:
- Criminal checks,
- Credit checks,
- Qualification verifications,
- ID checks,
- SA Citizenship checks
She continued by emphasising that the Post Bank employs fixed-term contractors who go through the same recruitment and selection procedures as those previously mentioned.
There are also contractors offered by service providers, and their contracts typically stipulate that they must undergo security checks and be authorised before working on Postbank IT systems.
In addition to this, shortly after the offence was uncovered, a criminal case was opened. The Specialized unit of the SAPS’s Organized Crime unit was tasked with opening the case. The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI/Hawks), has since taken over and is now investigating the case.