Friday, 17 September 2021

Cape Town: The South African Social Services Agency (SASSA) has initiated the process to suspend social grants –with the exception of foster care payments – paid to 177 108 public servants, Social Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu, says.

The public servants, she said, would soon have to prove they were eligible for the grants.

Zulu made the revelation in a Parliamentary response to a question from DA MP, Dr Mimmy Gondwe, who had asked for the total number of public service employees who had applied for and received other SASSA administered grants, other than the Social Relief of Distress (SRD). The grants included the child support grant, disability grant, and grant for older persons. Gondwe also asked for a breakdown of the specified number, according to each grant administered by SASSA.

“The total amount that SASSA has spent in paying public service employees who applied for and received SASSA administered grants is approximately R200.7 million (paid during July 2021),” said Zulu.

The Minister, however, said it should be noted that all social grants are means tested, apart from the foster child grant.

“Public servants are entitled to receive the foster child grant. Where the foster child grant is paid in conjunction with a care dependency grant for the same child, neither are means tested, and public servants would not be contravening any laws by receiving these grants,” she said.

For the remainder of the grant types, the means test would need to be applied.

Zulu said since the information had been extracted, arrangements had been made to suspend the grants, apart from the foster child grants, for all public servants.

Those who still qualify, she said, would have to come in and review the grant, and provide current information on their income to determine whether they still qualify to receive these grants.

“Measures will also be taken to recover any funds overpaid. Where it is found that the public servants were receiving a grant to which they were not entitled, the matter will be reported to their employing department for disciplinary action to be taken.” she said.