The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) has warned public servants not to apply for the recently reinstated R350 social relief of distress (SRD) grant.
In a statement on Thursday (5 August), DPSA Director-General Yoliswa Makhasi said the SRD grant is “is intended to provide relief to the poor and financially distressed citizens in the country.”
Public servants who apply for the grant would be committing fraud because they already have a source of income, she added.
“I want to reiterate that any official who receives any form of income from the public service does not qualify for this grant and may not apply for it, as it is tantamount to stealing from the poor,” Makhasi explained.
Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu announced on Wednesday that the government will open applications for the reinstated grant on Friday, 6 August.
She revealed that around 40,000 public servants applied for the grant during the first phase, which ran from May 2020 until April 2021. Of these, 241 managed to receive it.
Makhasi said DPSA is “ready and willing” to assist the Social Development Department and SA Social Security agency (SASSA) to strengthen controls against unscrupulous public servants.
DPSA will also provide support to ensure that money is recovered from public servants who wrongfully benefited and that their cases are referred to law enforcement agencies, she added.
Those who do not qualify for the grant include public servants on the PERSAL system, those on internship, Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), learnership or any developmental program, including those who receive a form of stipend from the government.
Zulu also alluded to “strengthened controls” between her Department and DPSA to prevent a recurrence of last year’s incidents of fraud.
“From a fraud and corruption aspect, SASSA is recovering monies from those who benefitted wrongly and have referred some matters to law enforcement agencies for further actioning and possible arrests,” she added.
“I must acknowledge the role that the Auditor-General played in alerting us to some of the challenges we needed to be mindful of in implementing this grant and we have taken lessons from this process which we will be utilising in this new iteration.”