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Accountability Monitor: SASSA and the NPA score big

It’s been a good week for accountability. Two developments you should know about:

1. The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) this week revealed that it has recovered R12.6 million from state employees who were receiving grants. The more than 3000 employees were not eligible to receive grants. 

Sassa CEO Busisiwe Memela-Khambula said in an interview that these civil servants had been reported to their departments and that disciplinary action and garnishing orders had been recommended. 

Sassa also said it was also assessing if a further 100 000 civil servants qualify for the grants they’re receiving. Civil servants earning grants cost the government up to R200 million per month. This is very suspicious: an individual is only allowed to earn a grant after a means test which assesses how much income you and your household are currently receiving. Most civil servants pass that threshold and should not qualify for grants. 

2. The National Prosecuting Authority also had a big win on Tuesday, related to an eye-watering R1 billion in assets linked to none other than our other former presidents, the Gupta family. In October 2020 Gauteng High Court Judge Maletsatsi Mahalelo ruled that assets valued at R1 billion belonging to Gupta-linked company Regiments Capital should not be frozen. These assets are allegedly connected to the looting of Transnet. 

But this week a full bench of the Gauteng High Court overturned the 2020 ruling. It also granted the NPA’s request that the total value of the proceeds of alleged Regiments corruption be adjusted from R1 billion to R1.6 billion.

What does it all mean? Well, it blocks the Guptas and their associates from accessing assets allegedly acquired through state capture – and it’s an important step to clawing back money that ought to have been used to serve the country. Here’s to more such judgments and more accountability wins!

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