Zulu did not say when the grants to illegal recipients were stopped or how much had been recouped from those who received payments.
Prof Lauren Graham, director of the Centre for Social Development in Africa at the University of Johannesburg, said the illegitimate payments pointed to a broader issue around the Sassa system and the system’s registration and verification processes.
She said it was remarkable that SA’s social security system moved so quickly for the Covid-19 grant to be extended to so many more people than beyond the normal grant beneficiaries. The country’s system was one of the quickest in the world in terms of response times, but when working with such speed verification systems could be compromised.
“Government embarked on a massive undertaking in registering people on the Covid-19 grant and was largely successful with this process,” she said.
“While the context of the mammoth task which was undertaken by government needs to be understood, illegitimate payments to those who do not deserve grants are a huge waste of money and hugely problematic. Verification processes should not be falling through the cracks.”