Today marks one year, two months, 10 days since the day I assumed duty as the CEO of South African Social Security Agency (SASSA). Upon joining the organisation, I listed five priorities:
A workshop was held on 5 to 6 of July 2011 to unpack these priorities and repackage projects. Despite the challenges the organisation continues to go through, SASSA has made strides in addressing the priorities as identified.
Over the past two years the Department of Social Development received adverse audit opinions relating to SASSA operations. For just over a year, SASSA has been reliant on an audit company to assist with financial management. I’m pleased to announce that the phase is completed and our Minister, Ms Bathabile Dlamini will announce the audit results for the entire social development sector which includes SASSA, next week.
A new tender was awarded for payment of social grants in January 2012, and the implementation commenced in April 2012. The benefits of this award include amongst others,
One of my major concerns was the conditions under which we served our beneficiaries. I made my priority to improve the conditions of both the local offices and the pay-points.
As part of the service delivery improvement, SASSA committed to standardise its core business process. This is aimed at ensuring uniformity of services at the local office level and to ensure that every SASSA customer experiences the same business processes, regardless of where he or she chooses to apply or transact with SASSA.
A total of 188 (60%) of the 331 local offices are operating on the standardised model. Business processes have been mapped and front line staff is trained on the improved processes. The aim is to eliminate duplication in functions, while at the same time ensuring quality, through the addition of a quality assurance function in the grants value chain.
Grant application forms have been reviewed and reduced, to eliminate the obtaining of information which does not add value to the processes. It is believed that this project, while improving turn- around times and thus service delivery to the clients, will also assist SASSA in ensuring that all staff in the direct service delivery arena are held accountable for their contribution in the process.
SASSA commenced with the re-registration of all social grants beneficiaries throughout the country. I must emphasise that the re-registration process is not a new application or review of a grant, but a measure to enrol the Social grants beneficiaries and recipients on to the new SASSA payment system.
This process involves capturing personal data and biometric information of beneficiaries (including 10 finger prints and photograph) and issuing of a SASSA card, in order to ensure that the grant is paid to the right person. I am pleased to commend our beneficiaries who are heeding the call to present themselves for re-registration and I want to encourage those who have not yet re-registered to visit their nearest re-registration sites.
The re-registration process thus far is starting to yield positive results which include the following:
We are busy investigating all the above mentioned trends and appropriate actions will be taken where we find fraud.
The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has, over the last five investigated beneficiaries of social grants, civil servants, and SASSA staff years claiming social grants fraudulently. Over 17,411 persons, both public servants and members of the public, for social grants fraud were convicted with the assistance of state agencies.
A further 44,874 (including the 17,411) have signed acknowledgement of debts valued at over R306 million to repay the fraudulent grants. Over R112 million had been recovered at the end on March 2012. Thirty seven (37) SASSA officials were charged with social grant fraud, twenty seven (27) of them were further criminally charged, which resulted in the arrest of sixteen (16) of them. The Agency is strengthening measures to prevent fraud and corruption.
In line with our objective to improve business processes, SASSA continues to invest in the enhancement of its payment system and management information system. These enhancements include:
In conclusion, I would like to thank the staff of the Agency for the commitment to serve the citizens of the Republic and the SASSA beneficiaries who have complied and supported the Agency in fulfilling its mandate.