Mzansi Afrika

From Johannesburg South Africa, a window on the world

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Corruption in the social grants system

According to an article in Tuesday's Business Day, although there are some legitimate factors driving growth in government spending on social grants, corruption and a lack of administrative controls have also been clearly identified as a problem in this area. According to Minister of Social Development, Zola Skweyiya, fraud and corruption in the grants system, especially in disability grants, are costing the state about R1.5 billion a year. However some analysts say that that this estimate is far too low, and that a more accurate fraud and corruption estimate is closer to R3bn - R5bn.

The Scorpions, the police and the Justice Department are currently pursuing a number of serious cases involving public servants and syndicates. The department has also launched an indemnity process to persuade people who are currently claiming fraudulent grants to stop doing so. Skweyiya is expected to announce a major investigation by the Scorpions to root out corruption in the grants system. Government is trying to clean out the system before grant administration officials move from the provinces to the new National Social Security Agency which is meant to open its doors in April this year. Hmmm...that gives the Scorpions just over a month, I wish them lots of luck.

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