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Former Sassa officials jailed for disability grant fraud

The Giyani Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Limpopo sentenced two former South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) officials on Tuesday to an effective five years in prison for disability grant fraud.

Solani Agnes Baloyi, 56, and Jacob Manamela, 64, committed the fraud in January 2015 while working at the Sassa office in Tzaneen.

The matter was reported to the Hawks after Sassa officials were alerted to the fraud.

The court heard that the pair had recruited unemployed people from the area, who were not disabled, to apply for disability grants.

“The applications were successfully processed by the accused, and the payments were made to unfit beneficiaries. The first payments would be shared with the officials, while the other payments would be for the beneficiaries,” Hawks spokesperson, Captain Matimba Maluleke said.

“The [social services] department has suffered a loss of R600 000 due to these fraudulent activities,” Maluleke added.

Head of the Hawks in Limpopo, Major General Gopz Govender, said the convictions should serve as a deterrent to other would-be fraudsters.

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