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January 2021 edition

Stamping out social grant fraud and corruption

Written by Mbulelo Baloyi and BuaNews
Legitimate beneficiaries of government grants need not panic with the planned re-registration drive, said Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini flanked by her Deputy Maria Ntuli (left) and the CEO of SASSA Virginia Peterson (right)Through the re-registration drive for more than 15 million recipients of social grants, government aims to make sure that the social protection safety net in the form of grants is paid to the right people.

As from March, the Department’s grant payment institution, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) will begin an intensive drive to re-register all recipients of government grants.

No costs

Government hopes to eliminate the continued fraudulent payment of grants to people who are not entitled to receive them. SASSA will do the re-registration at its pension pay-out points across the country and no costs will be borne by the recipients of grants having to visit SASSA offices.

SASSA currently pays different monthly grants to more than 15 million beneficiaries and more than 10 million of these are for child-support grants.

Government is very aware that there has been some confusion among grant beneficiaries about the re-registration of beneficiaries. This is why they want to allay any concerns or fears that beneficiaries might have, said Minister Dlamini.

Automation

The department is in process of introducing automation in the payment of grants. The automation process will see the use of biometric identification such as finger and palm prints as well as a voice recognition system.

The re-registration process does not mean beneficiaries have to apply for grants again; it only means they have to verify their identification details to eliminate fraud and corruption.

Chief Executive Officer of SASSA Virginia Peterson said the agency had embarked on the re-registration drive to verify the true identities of all recipients. This will help government to save millions of rands, as it will eliminate fraudulent payment of grants to people who were not  entitled to receive them.

The SASSA CEO said almost 700 000 beneficiaries who had their grants reviewed recently had not yet been in touch with the agency to restore their grants. She said there was a possibility that some of these were defrauding the system and feared that they had been exposed.

Two phases

The process of re-registration will be completed in two phases, with the first phase starting on 1 March and ending in May.

“During this period, particularly from 1 April 2012, beneficiaries should continue to collect their grants at their respective pay points including banks. New beneficiaries will be enrolled on to the new biometric-based payment system as from 1 March 2012 at SASSA local offices upon application,” Peterson explained.

During the second phase - from 1 June to 31 December - existing eligible beneficiaries, including those receiving their grants through banks and the South African Post Office’s Postbank and children, will be enrolled on the new biometric-based payment system at SASSA pay points, local offices and designated sites.

Documents

SASSA is to conduct home visits during this period to accommodate beneficiaries over 75 years of age and bedridden beneficiaries at their homes or institutions such as hospitals.

With the new system, beneficiaries will be issued with a SASSA-branded smart card which they can use anywhere in the country. The system will allow the right person to be paid the right amount and be enrolled within close proximity of the communities where they live.”

Dlamini reminded beneficiaries to bring their identity documents (IDs) and existing SASSA-branded cards, when re-registering. She warned that no one would be re-registered without these documents.

Child support grant

Beneficiaries of the child support grant must bring their babies, along with their birth certificates. Fingerprints will be taken of the child to verify his or her identity.

The re-registration of child-support grant beneficiaries would be done during school holidays to avoid disrupting the teaching and learning process, said Minister Dlamini.

The Social Development Minister warned that apart from the child’s birth certificate and fingerprints, there were no other ways of verifying the child’s identity.

The department will work with the Department of Home Affairs to check and confirm that the child belongs to the mother using details entered into the unabridged birth certificate. This shows the details of the mother and the father of the child and their ID numbers.

About R15 million was set aside for the entire process to re-registering beneficiaries, which included the upgrading of the call centres.

An extensive information campaign will be run by SASSA to educate and mobilise beneficiaries, community members and organisations about the new system. All beneficiaries with Sekulula cards are urged to call SASSA Hotlineat the number written below.

For more information, call the SASSA call centre: 0800 601011