In a press statement on Monday, the DA said they wanted answers on the illegal dumping of thousands of confidential applications seeking social assistance, which they said they had found in an open field in Thaba Nchu in the Free State.
The party’s premier candidate, Patricia Kopane, said she had written to the MEC for social development, Butana Kompela, to demand that he urgently probe the act.
“The DA Team One SA spokesperson for jobs Geordin Hill-Lewis and I were conducting an oversight inspection at the failed waste recycling plant in the area when we made the shocking discovery of thousands of applications and reports strewn across the field. The recent ones were dated October 2018,” said Kopane.
Kopane said Kompela would have to conduct an urgent investigation to get to the bottom of the matter and hold those who had dumped the documents accountable.
“It is unacceptable that officials at the department of social development can be so reckless with confidential information, which should not be seen by the public.”
She said some of the applications and reports included:
- Transfer of child support grants;
- Cases of child abuse and deliberate negligence which should considered by the children’s court;
- Social worker reports for relief of distress; and
- Affidavits by women seeking temporary shelter due to the abuse they experience at the hands of their spouses.
“IDs and details of abused children must be stored securely and not dumped in an open veld.
“This can potentially expose children to unscrupulous individuals and the complainants can fall prey to information or identity theft.”
She added: “This is a gross violation of the Child Care and Protection Act, which makes provision for the care and protection of children and young persons and for connected matters.
“It is therefore crucial that such documents and IDs, some of which were not certified, are stored in a secure place which will prevent anyone taking advantage of personal information and using it to open bank accounts or committing fraud.”
She said it was heartbreaking that some of the applications were for abused children and from people without any source of income who had turned to the department in the hopes that their situation would be turned around.
“South Africa is riddled with corruption and unacceptably high levels of crime but the ANC government doesn’t care enough about the wellbeing of South African citizens,” she said.
Kopane undertook to hand over the copies of the dumped documents to assist the MEC in investigating whether applications had been processed before the documents were dumped, or whether they were dumped to avoid them being processed.
“The sight of the thousands of documents strewn across the field was a stark reminder of the failing ANC’s careless attitude towards the most vulnerable individuals in our communities. The DA will not tolerate this and we will also conduct our own investigation” said Kopane.
(Compiled by Charles Cilliers)