Tebogo Msimanga |
The Democratic Alliance (DA) says the latest corruption scandal to hit the South African Post Office sounds like a bad joke. It involves a policeman, a teacher and two Post Office workers. These are three professions South Africans should be able to trust implicitly. Instead, the suspects have been arrested for grand-scale fraud at the Post Office.
Reports reveal that two post office workers and their partners allegedly stole R10.2 million from SASSA grants, which are supposed to be paid out to the poorest citizens. In 2020 and 2021 they systematically paid SASSA grants out to ghost accounts they had created.
The Hawks have arrested all four of the suspects in the Eastern Cape, having caught them red-handed siphoning off the money.
DA Shadow Minister of Communications Dianne Kohler Barnard said it is hardly surprising then, that the Post Office was dumped as a distribution agent for the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grants from May this year. “The SASSA grants are distributed via cards and one would imagine that the system was safe. However, the cards today have extremely weak security protection, as the biometrics were scrapped by a government terrified by the threat of a Post Office worker strike”.
Barnard said this is despite the fact that the biometrics had by then saved the country R2 billion, by rooting out 1 million fraudulent beneficiaries.
The DA says it stands firm in its belief that the Post Office, one of the many bottomless-pit state-owned entities battling operational issues, is beyond repair, and should be liquidated. “The funds raised must be used to pay the Post office employees’ medical aid, UIF and pension contributions which the management has carefully and criminally failed to pay over for many years”.