As Sassa grapples with the non-payment of pensions this month, this week it’s also had to explain to Parliament why it’s writing off at least R250 million in irrecoverable grant payments.
Parliamentarians also wanted to know what it’s doing about thousands of debtor files destroyed during the KwaZulu-Natal riots in 2021.
The social security agency is owed millions in grants that have been erroneously disbursed.
The highest number of debtors live in KwaZulu-Natal, followed by the Eastern Cape.
Sassa says its debt book is worth at least half a billion rand.
But Parliament has heard this week that it’s struggling to recoup the money.
Sassa’s chief financial officer, Tsakeriwa Chauke, says Treasury has condoned a write-off under certain conditions, including where the cost of recovery exceeds the debt owed.
“Some of the debtors were deceased. Some of the debtors were considered to be in undue hardship – in other words, it’s not in the best interest of the state to recover from that particular person because of the personal circumstances.”
Chauke says the agency has reconstructed over 7,000 files worth R38 million in debt, destroyed in a KwaMashu office during the 2021 uprising.
He says finding people living in villages and informal settlements to re-sign an acknowledgment of debt is slowing down the process to also digitise the files.