Sassa officials arrested for fraud

Several people are behind bars in connection with corrupt activities at the Gugulethu payout point.

A suspected loan shark was arrested for retaining several pensioners' bank cards, IDs and pension payout cards. Picture: Giovanna Gerbi/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) on Thursday said police arrested nine people suspected of being involved in fraudulent and corrupt practices at the Gugulethu payout point.

Authorities swooped on the premises following several complaints from the public that some beneficiaries were forced to hand over cash to corrupt officials.

The agency has been working countrywide in a bid to clamp down on corrupt officials and money lenders who prey on victims at payout points.

Officials will be thoroughly examining the Gugulethu payout point and questioning various staff members during the lockdown.

Sassa's Frank Earl confirmed four employees and five touts are facing fraud and corruption charges.

Two of the employees involved had already been suspended a while ago.

Earl said some employees divulged personal information to touts who would then strong-arm beneficiaries to hand over cash.

"The staff was colluding with the public in general to be able to access disability grants and they would share the proceeds of the grant once it has been processed."

Sassa said some officials also allegedly demanded money from disability and pension recipients to process any back payments.

In February, 15 people were arrested for fraud involving Sassa throughout the province.

They included six money lenders who were found in possession of 320 Sassa cards.