Sassa hails crackdown on social grant syndicate

Thirteen people appeared in the Bellville Magistrates Court yesterday after they were recently arrested.

FILE: Several protesters are gathered outside St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town on Thursday 15 October 2015. They are calling for action, claiming they have been short changed by grants administrator Cash Payment Services. Picture: Natalie Malgas/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) has hailed authorities for cracking a multi-million rand countrywide social grant fraud syndicate.

Thirteen people appeared in the Bellville Magistrates Court yesterday after they were recently arrested for allegedly being part of the syndicate.

They are among 17 people in total, who have been taken into custody.

Sassa's Renay Ogle says Nelly Msimango was arrested at Cape Town International Airport on Friday.

"We took time on every level of the syndicate. The alleged mastermind appeared here and was arrested at the Cape Town International Airport."

The Hawks reportedly discovered ID documents and machinery used to manufacture cards and other equipment following a raid at her Umhlanga Ridge house in KwaZulu-Natal.

The rest of the accused have all been granted bail of up to R5,000 with very specific conditions.

However, Ogle would not divulge whether more arrests could be expected.

"The criminal investigation, as well as Sassa's internal investigation, is still continuing and at this stage we cannot preempt that."

The Social Security Agency says the broader fraud network has cost it about R34,7 million.

Msimango will remain behind bars until 13 June for a formal bail application.