Did Sassa Really Pay Grants To 74 000 Dead Beneficiaries?

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It was recently reported that Sassa paid grant to 74 000 ghost beneficiaries. Now, the Department of Social Development has set the record straight and gave details into how Sassa payments work.

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After seeing reports that 74 000 people who are deceased received Sassa grant payments, it's no surprise that confusion followed and the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) needed to set the record straight. The Department of Social Development, which Sassa is governed under, released a statement to clarify this.

Sassa then said:

As much as we are aware of some corrupt activities taking place which our Fraud and compliance unit is dealing with on a daily basis, as SASSA we can confirm that majority of this is not due to corruption but rather due to timing of reporting of death by the responsible family members vs the date on which SASSA Extracts Payments for the affected clients.

Further explaining this, Sassa said that, on a monthly basis, around the 22nd and 23rd of every month, they look at beneficiary payment details and compare that information with information from Home Affairs. One of the reasons behind this is to check if the beneficiaries are still alive or deceased.

If a beneficiary is found to be deceased, their records are taken off the Sassa database and payment won't be made to them in the first week of the new month, saying, "no money is generated for such clients".

"When a client dies at their different residential areas, the only time on which SASSA gets to know if the client has died is when family members reports such death to SASSA or reports such to the Department of Home Affairs."

In instances where death is reported late at SASSA or Department of Home Affairs, such eventuality can result in some payment being prematurely released.

Late reporting of deaths, which can even be a few days late, will then impact this process and payments might still then occur, which Sassa says they don't have control over and neither does Home Affairs. Sassa also conducts a review of beneficiary personal details to check if the circumstances of the beneficiary are still the same.

The agency has said that the 74 000 reported actually refers to the number of beneficiaries who were reported to have died in the past three years, which represents an average of 2 055 clients per month, which is 0,01% of the total population paid on a monthly basis. Reasons behind this:

  • Death reported late to Department of Home Affairs - days after the actual date of death. Whose date may have been after SASSA has extracted payment to the different bank accounts
  • Death reported late to SASSA by family members days after payment was long extracted

Sassa stops payments of grants on the 22nd of every month, with them saying they are "presently working tirelessly with the Department of Home Affairs to ensure that the systems are connected".

This is to ensure that we curb corruption. SASSA has in the past worked closely with the HAWKS and other law enforcement agencies to curb corruption. We will continue to work with law enforcement agencies for the betterment of our organisation.

"A fraud-prevention strategy, aligned to the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, has been implemented by SASSA and fraud awareness campaigns are conducted regularly to increase awareness."

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Sassa has revealed why thousands of grant beneficiaries were not paid their social grants in January 2024. The agency have also revealed when beneficiaries will be paid. 

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