JOHANNESBURG, April 17 – The Public Servants Association said on Wednesday it was concerned that employees at the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) may have unfairly taken the fall for unscrupulous activities.
The PSA said this after a video showing alleged criminals in possession of SASSA cards and money went viral. The alleged criminals boasted as they counted about hundreds Sassa cards they claimed to have used with the assistance of SASSA workers to fraudulently access social grant money meant for poor South Africans.
The PSA, which represents the majority of employees at SASSA, said this was the result of an insecure interface system called SOCPEN, used by the grants agency to process millions of applications.
PSA general manager Ivan Fredericks said the system had proven to be vulnerable to fraudsters.
“Incidents have been reported where the system has been accessed in the late hours and on weekends when SASSA offices are closed and fraudulent applications would be processed on the system using SASSA employees’ credentials,” Fredericks said.
“This has resulted in employees being charged with misconduct and some even being dismissed.”
Sassa spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi said the viral video was under investigation and the agency was making progress in verifying its authenticity.
The PSA insisted on the establishment of a task team to investigate the root cause of questionable transactions.
Fredericks said the task team must deal with the SOCPEN system’s deficiencies and make recommendations to SASSA on how to resolve them.
“The PSA has also demanded that SASSA should suspend all SOCPEN-related disciplinary actions as it is clear that the problem goes much deeper than mere misconduct. The charged employees could be victims of some form of syndicate,” he said.
“The PSA urged intervention by the minister of social development to ensure that loyal employees do not become innocent victims of fraudulent transactions that target and exploit the deficiencies of the system.” (ANA)