The Public Service Association, which represents the majority of employees at the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) says it is concerned that employees may have unfairly taken the fall for unscrupulous activities.

PSA assistant General Manager, Reuben Maleka, says that the association is concerned with the use of some of their members’ usernames and passwords during weekends.

“In some instances you find that the employee is in Gauteng, but the username or password is used somewhere in KZN. We raised these concerns; we said to employers that they must institute investigations and find out what is the issue about.”

Maleka says that they have raised their concerns with the Sassa National Bargaining Forum since 2008-2009 and the institution has maintained that they are not able to complete their investigation and come up with a way forward. The association has labelled the system used by Sassa as weak and easily defrauded by criminals, and blamed it for the criminal access of employees’ codes.

“We have been saying that how can it be possible that such a system, even if it’s accessed by means of other officials, that it could be defrauded of millions of rand without detection and it can also be accessed by criminals over weekends?”

PSA says that Sassa must review the system and tighten security. However, the association says that Sassa has not kept its promise to investigate and find out what the issue is with the system.

Sassa spokesperson, Paseka Letsatsi, says that the systems used by both Sassa and the South African Post Office have been developed to protect social grants employees.

But the PSA says that Sassa is not accepting responsibility from their part.

“Sassa never actually accepts responsibilities in instances. But I thought that this time they would work with us as trade unions because, obviously employees that are involved, some would be the members of trade unions. At the end, some of our members who are very hardworking and make sure that they perform all their functions, fall victim of these unscrupulous systems that are fraud by fraudulent activities.”