Minister Says Action Must Be Taken Against 40 000 State Employees

Recently the DA called for legal and disciplinary action against the 40 000 state workers who applied for the R350 Covid-19 relief grant while they were still earning full salaries. The Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu responded saying that she agrees that action must be taken against these individuals as they acted selfishly.

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The R350 Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) Grant is meant to assist those who are unemployed and unable to find work due to Covid-19. 

In May 2020, 40 000 government employees applied for the R350 Covid-19 relief grant while they were still earning their full salaries and 241 of those who applied actually received the R350 grant payments, which they were not eligible for.

While the Social Development Department found out through investigations that this was the case, no legal or disciplinary action was taken against these government employees who applied for the grant. There has also been no legal action taken to recover the grants paid to those government employees who received the R350 payment in May 2020. 

The grants that were paid amounted to R84 350.

The department said that SASSA has not concluded the investigation into the cases but said that a new system has been put in place to stop government employees from being able to receive the R350 SRD grant.   

The Democratic Alliance (DA) said that it had welcomed the fact that measures were being put in place to prevent government employees from receiving the SRD grant, however they were concerned about the investigations into the 39 672 implicated government employees that was not yet concluded. 

After the Democratic Alliance (DA) called for legal or disciplinary action, Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu spoke to SABC News regarding these issues.  

Minister Zulu called the implicated government employees "pathetic" and "selfish" for wanting to receive the grant when it was meant for members of society who were most vulnerable and distressed due to COVID-19. 

Zulu clarified that the rumours saying that these government employees were "testing the system" to see if payments would be received properly are untrue and that this testing would have to be done by those who are within SASSA or the Department of Social Development. 

She does however say that all of those implicated do not come from her department. 

"The bottom line for me as a minister and other executives is for us to create systems that can immediately tell us that this name and this ID number belongs here, it cannot be an ID number or a name that has to get into our system for benefitting out of what government is giving to our people," said Zulu. 

The Minister says that the money that was paid to the 241 government employees must be recovered from them. 

"It is not about the amount of money, it's the principle. We must get back the money... it's also a disciplinary process where it must be known that so and so applied and they knew that they were not supposed to apply."-Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu. 

Minister Zulu says that an example should be made of those government employees who applied for the SRD grant knowing that they were not eligible and trying to benefit from government funding that was meant for the less fortunate. 

 

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