A fake news article claiming SASSA accidentally paid grants to 17 000 illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe is doing the rounds on social media.

The false article from a fake news site is incorrectly attributed to SASSA spokesperson, Paseka Letsatsi.

SASSA has distanced itself from what it describes as a xenophobic article which attempts to confuse the public and undermine government efforts to continue providing a buffer against the levels of poverty in the country through the provision of social security.

“This is not the first time that saboteurs have targeted SASSA with ridiculous and misleading reports,” the agency says in a statement. “It seems that someone with malicious intent is deliberately trying to stir the public’s emotions and confuse grant beneficiaries.

“What is more disturbing is that this faceless person is trying to promote xenophobic attitudes and drive a wedge among the diverse inhabitants of South Africa.”

The fake news was circulated as some beneficiaries were struggling to withdraw their grants as a result of a technical glitch which SASSA states has since been resolved.

“We remain steadfast in pursuing our mandate of distributing social grants and we won’t be distracted by low lives who don’t have the interest of our beneficiaries at heart,” says Abraham Mahlangu, acting-CEO of SASSA. “We are confident that the public won’t be swayed by such people who seek to undermine its intelligence.”

He adds that the social grant system is stabilised at the moment and, going forward, the agency will eliminate the possibility of technical problems on its system.