Woman Who Stole Millions From SASSA Gets Bail

The police have managed to crack down on another criminal hoping to cheat SASSA applicants out of their money. SASSA recently committed itself to work with the police to develop an anti-fraud strategy to fight criminals trying to cheat the system.

The police have arrested Lindiwe Shangase, a 54-year-old woman who stole over R7 million from SASSA. She was arrested in Westville, where the police found two cellphones, personal files, bank cards and other documents.

She recently appeared in court and was granted bail for R10 000. Before the police arrested Shangase, they had already arrested her partners in crime. All three of them will appear again in court on September 22.

Police spokesperson, Captain Nqobile Gwala said "The suspect's arrest came after a case of fraud was registered at Ixopo SAPS, where the two accused were arrested on 1 November 2019 on Margaret Street in Ixopo."

"The suspect was responsible for fraudulently issuing 47 Sassa cards. The total value of the amount of money defrauded is R 7 295 550."

KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula said the investigation would hopefully allow for more arrests to be made.

“It is heart-breaking to learn that there are people who are robbing pensioners and people who need to feed their families through the grant money. I am glad that the suspects were arrested and more arrests can be expected as the investigation unfolds,” 

This is not the first time SASSA has been a victim of fraud. Recently, a former SASSA employee was sentenced to 10 years in prison, along with her boyfriend who was sentenced to eight years in prison. 

The employee was employed as a clerk at SASSA from 2006 to 2011. During this time, she was responsible for capturing social grant applications.

According to the spokesperson of the director of public prosecutor, Luxolo Tyali, she was arrested in 2011. 

The arrest came after an investigation that found that there were suspicious social grant payments that were made without supporting documents. 

“The couple registered fictitious social grants and used other unsuspecting people’s identity documents to open bank accounts to which social grants payments were made,” Tyali said.

“More than 30 bank cards were found at the couple’s home. They could not provide any plausible explanation for these cards,” Tyali said.

They initially pleaded "not guilty' and made many attempts to delay the case by changing their legal representation three times. 

However, once the evidence was presented to the court, they decided to plead guilty. 

SASSA CEO, Totsie Memela said SASSA is working with the justice system to crack down on these attempts of fraud and theft. 

"This strategy is driven by multi-disciplinary teams of law enforcers who collaborate to detect fraud and unleash the might of the law on those suspected of committing it."

"We have adopted a zero-tolerance approach to fraud and will stop at nothing to root it out at first sight, so criminals, be warned," said Memela. 

SASSA is confident that criminals will have a hard time stealing money from the system in the future, as it is working with banks to fight corruption and fraud. 

It is calling on the public to report cases of corruption to the anti-corruption hotline on 0800 43 43 73.

"We need to work together even more with the public to fight corruption and ensure that public funds are not abused by anyone," said SASSA.

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