Military veterans dept to clamp down on education benefit fraud

'There are those who are trying to abuse the system by inflating tuition and other things'

Military veterans dept to clamp down on education benefit fraud

11 January 2017

Cape Town - The Department of Military Veterans will be clamping down on fraudulent educational support claims, it said on Wednesday.

This included inflated tuition invoices and beneficiaries receiving the support illegally, acting director general Max Ozinsky told media during a briefing on Wednesday.

That was one of the challenges facing the department and it was being addressed, he said.

"We have noted that, as we have provided the educational support, there are those who are trying to abuse and defraud the system by inflating tuition and other things," he said.

The department would be conducting a forensic audit of the support given to beneficiaries, he said, in a bid to eliminate fraud and abuse.

At the moment, Ozinsky said, everyone who was receiving the benefit was on a database.

That was something they were strict about.

Database unverified

He acknowledged, however, that there were issues with the database as it stood.

The department has continuously told Parliament that the database is contaminated.

In November, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula told MPs that the database was still not fully verified and that there was no proof that all the people on the database were veterans.

On Wednesday, Ozinsky said part of the forensic audit would be looking at whether all those receiving the education support were legitimate dependents of military veterans.

The department was taking steps to try and resolve the issue, although it did not have the luxury of time, he said.

He appealed to those accessing the benefit fraudulently to stop, as the department had very limited resources and it wanted to ensure that it reached those in need.

"Especially the poorest of the poor," Ozinsky added.

Those defrauding the department were taking resources away from people who need them.

The department was serious about clamping down on fraudsters, he said.

Those found to be accessing the benefit illegally would be referred to the authorities and might face legal action, he said.

This article first appeared on News24, see here