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Police arrest 9 social grant ‘scamsters’

Police arrested nine people in connection with a R1.2m social grant scam.

Police arrested two women at the SASSA Johannesburg offices in connection with a social grant scam amounting to over R1.2 million on 18 October 2012. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN

THEMBISA - Nine people were on Thursday arrested in connection with a social grant scam amounting to over R1.2 million.

The suspects were apprehended during a raid in Tembisa on the East Rand, where people had been selling fraudulent disability grants.

Seven people including the female kingpin were arrested at shebeens and another two at the South African Social Service Agency offices.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, accompanied by police, stormed into the offices and arrested two women believed to be part of the scam.

Dlamini said the entire operation had been run by women.

"Poverty has the face of a woman… I was shocked that a woman could do that to the citizens of South Africa."

Beneficiaries of the fraudulent disability grants would allegedly pay between three and five thousand rands to have the grant registered, and then split the monthly payments with the agent who sold them the grant.

Dlamini said her department was investigating 139 cases of fraud.

"This money is for the poor, and if you take it you are taking somebody's right."