Home South African Call to act against govt employees who applied for R350 Covid grant

Call to act against govt employees who applied for R350 Covid grant

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Almost 37,000 public servants applied for the R350 Special Relief of Distress grant despite having permanent jobs in government

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu told Parliament that 36,972 public service employees had applied for the SRD grant. Picture: Jacques Naude / African News Agency (ANA)

THE DA has asked Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu to act against the almost 37,000 public servants who applied for the R350 Special Relief of Distress grant despite having permanent jobs in government.

The DA’s deputy spokesperson on public service and administration, Dr Mimmy Gondwe, made the call after Zulu, in her written responses to Parliament, revealed that as of February 2021, 36,972 public service employees had applied for the SRD grant.

Gondwe said her party called on the Social Security Agency of South Africa (Sassa) and the Department of Social Development (DSD) to urgently solicit the assistance of the Department of Public Service and Administration in concluding the investigations into the 36,972 public service employees who applied for the SRD.

She also said investigations should be conducted into the 241 public service employees who received the SRD grant for the month of May 2020.

Gondwe further called for action after Zulu had revealed that no disciplinary or legal action has been instituted against them as the Sassa-led investigations into their applications were still ongoing and have yet to be concluded.

Zulu further disclosed that no legal steps have been taken to recover the grants paid to the 241 public service employees who received the SRD grant for the month of May 2020 as the investigations into these payments were also still ongoing.

A total amount of R84,350 was paid to public service employees who applied for the SRD grant for the month of May 2020.

“While the DA welcomes the fact that DSD has since put systems in place to prevent public service employees from fraudulently and/or unlawfully applying for and/or receiving an SRD grant, and that Sassa has implemented a system to ensure that public service employees do not receive the SRD grant … we are concerned that the investigations into the 39,672 implicated public service employees have yet to be concluded,” Gondwe said.

The opposition party said decisive disciplinary and legal action must be taken against the public service employees, adding that the SRD grant was intended solely for the most vulnerable and distressed members of society.