Staff of KwaZulu-Natal (KNZ) Social Development Department has been yearly defrauding the department of a whopping sum of R19 million for heaven knows how long.
Weziwe Thusi, KNZ’s Social Development MEC in a statement today, disclosed that the department’s office in Empangeni has been shut down and that the 35 staff employed there have been sent on a compulsory 60 days leave.
BuzzSouthAfrica gathered that 1376 grants for foster care were processed for foster care and for children who are not existing. And according to Thusi’s statement, the unreal grants cost the social development department R19 million annually. The duration of years the deceit went on was however not disclosed.
Thusi reportedly stated thus; “today we took a decision to put a stop to a massive fraud, which has been making a mockery of a system which is supposed to benefit the needy.”
According to her, “initial investigations indicate that there is some element of collusion. It is a pity that people who are at the center of this fraud are people who are supposed to protect the needy,” Thusi added.
With the foregoing, the Social Development MEC further related that she has tasked a three-man committee to investigate the fraud. “The probe” she said, “will take two weeks and the outcome will inform the next course of action.”
The department last year slashed its subsistence and travel claims by R8 million in order to get more money to the needy. Commenting on that, Thusi said “the Cabinet lekgotla gave us the directive to do all we can to ensure that more money goes to our people.
Although travelling is part of delivering services, we have managed to do things differently which has seen us trimming travelling costs without affecting service delivery…
The R8 million we have saved in the past five months will go a long way in improving people’s lives and we strongly believe that we will be able to make more savings in the near future.”
No-one imagined the saving will take this form. Nonetheless, this incident indicates that corruption in South Africa is not only a government-officials or ANC thing as widely believe.