Post Office grant fraud report must be tabled before Parliament – Bridget Masango

DA MP says security features of the payment system have been found to be irretrievably compromised

DA calls for the Post Office grant fraud report to be tabled before Parliament

7 October 2019

The South African Post Office’s (SAPO) ability to safely manage the payments of grants to 10 million poor and vulnerable South Africans has been called into question following a reported investigation into a multimillion-rand grant payment card fraud. The Democratic Alliance (DA) has subsequently written to the Chairperson of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Social Development, Mr. Mondli Gungubele, to request the Post Office grant fraud report be tabled before Parliament for scrutiny.

Many pensioners and social grants beneficiaries believed that the migration from the former SASSA card to the new South African Post Office (SAPO) card, would bring an end to fraudulent and opportunistic activities that have plagued the grant system for years. Regrettably, this has not been the case as the investigation reportedly found that security features of the SAPO payment system have been irretrievably compromised.

Millions of social grant recipients and their dependents will suffer if this fraud remains unabated. It is deplorable that poor South Africans have to bear the brunt because opportunistic criminals are stealing money meant to assist the most vulnerable groups in our society.

During the Department of Social Development’s budget vote in August, Minister Lindiwe Zulu announced that the pandemic days of fraud against the department are “over”; and the R68 million has been set to investigate social grant system fraud will amongst other things make sure all SASSA beneficiaries are paid.

This report shows complete absence of tighter systems and control and total failure of good governance and best practice surrounding information security has created an environment in which fraudsters can easily rob money meant to bring relief for poor and vulnerable groups. It is for this reason that SAPO and SASSA should appear before Parliament to account for the details of this report.

Parliament must use its oversight authority to hold those found to be involved in these repugnant acts of theft accountable. The DA will continue to monitor the developments at SASSA and the SA Post office and we will not allow that any act of criminality which affect vulnerable beneficiaries from receiving their much needed grants continue unabated.

Issued by Bridget Masango, DA Shadow Minister of Social Development, 7 October 2019