21 December 2020 - NW2265
Arries, Ms LH to ask the Minister of Social Development
What (a) criteria does her department use to appoint doctors to assist citizens with grant applications (b) Total number of the doctors have had their contracts terminated for fraudulent applications and (c) Total amount has been lost through this kind of fraud over the past five financial years?
1. Regulation 3(b) to the Social Assistance Act, 2004 confirms that a person is eligible for a disability grant if that person has attained the age of 18 years, and “the disability is confirmed by an assessment ….” The Act further defines an assessment as “the medical examination by a medical officer of a person or child in order to determine disability or care-dependency for the purposes of recommending a finding for the awarding o social grant..” and medical officer is defined as “any medical practitioner in the service of the State, or a person appointed under a contract to perform the functions or render the services of a medical officer in terms of the Act”.
Given the challenges in the Health environment with the provision of assessment services for all applicants and beneficiaries for disability-related grants, SASSA strategically decided to contract medical officers to supplement the services provided by the Department of Health by contracting doctors directly through an open tender process for a period of 36 months. A set criteria is used to select doctors who are contracted to conduct social assistance assessments, see below:
The medical doctors must:
1.1 Have a Medical Qualification or a Medical Degree;
1.2 Be currently registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) as a medical practitioner for at least 2 years;
1.3 Must demonstrate Tax compliance through the submission of a Valid Tax Clearance Certificate as issued by the South African Revenue Services;
1.4 Must be Registered with the Central Supplier Database held by National Treasury;
1.5 Have an understanding of Social Assistance issues; and
1.6 Be willing to attend induction workshops on the assessment tools and the Social Assistance Act No 13 of 2004 as amended and related Regulations. This ensures that the contracted doctors are able to comply with the requirements for the rendering of disability assessment services prior to commencement of undertaking assessments.
2. The doctors must not have:
2.1. Been convicted in any court of law for Social Grants Related Fraud; or
2.2. Been excluded or suspended from conducting medical evaluations for SASSA or any other organ of state. An affidavit is sufficient at the point of Bid submission but should any bidder fail a vetting process, SASSA has the right to terminate the services of that particular service provider.
b) There are no doctors who have had their contracts terminated because of fraudulent transactions
c) There is no loss that is attributable to fraudulent doctors over the past five financial years.