Thirty women have been arrested in Botshabelo, east of Bloemfontein, after they were allegedly found to have defrauded the State through social grants.

The suspects, including a 41-year-old woman who is the alleged mastermind, were arrested for issuing unsuspecting people with fraudulent doctor’s referral letters qualifying them for social grants.

They allegedly charged about R200 for the service. Police say fraudulent documents were found at the 41-year-old woman’s house.

Free State police spokesperson Thandi Mbambo says they started to investigate in July 2018.

“The project, which was led by the provincial crime unit, was launched in 2018 and was led by crime intelligence information on undeserving SASSA beneficiaries who applied for social grants,” says Mbambo.