DA demands answers and recovery of stolen funds from Guardians Fund

Issued by Adv. Glynnis Breytenbach MP – DA Shadow Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development
19 Jun 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Adv Glynnis Breytenbach MP.

The DA is deeply concerned about the recent reports of an R18 million theft from the Guardians Fund in April.

The Guardians Fund, established to manage money on behalf of individuals who are legally incapable of managing their own affairs, including minors, unborn heirs, and missing persons, plays a crucial role in protecting the interests of some of South Africa’s most vulnerable individuals.

It has come to light that payments from the fund have been suspended by the Department of Justice as they explore alternative and safer payment processing methods. In the interim, the fund’s payment system has been switched off to prevent further fraudulent transactions. While it is necessary to take measures to address the issue of theft and protect the fund’s assets, the suspension of payments has caused significant hardships for individuals who rely on these funds for essential needs such as school fees, medical bills, accommodation, and other necessary expenses.

Furthermore, there are reports that individuals owed money by the Guardians Fund have been denied access to their funds, with the Department of Justice failing to provide reasons for these delays. This lack of transparency and accountability exacerbates the burden on vulnerable individuals who are already facing immense challenges.

The DA will not stand idly by while the rights and well-being of South Africa’s most vulnerable citizens are compromised. We will be submitting Parliamentary questions to ascertain the full extent of the theft, the reasons behind it, the number of delayed payments and transactions resulting from the payment suspension, and the steps the Department is taking to recover the stolen funds. We will also ascertain what is being done to ensure that those in need are able to access their funds.

It is crucial that those responsible for this theft are brought to justice, and the stolen funds are recovered to minimize the impact on the lives of those who depend on the Guardians Fund for their financial support. The DA remains committed to advocating for the rights and interests of all South Africans, especially those who are most in need of protection and assistance. This is not the first time that the DoJ systems have been breached by cyber criminals, and they seem unable to effectively or efficiently put systems in place to ensure the integrity of important systems.