AmaBhungane’s investigative journalist, Dewald van Rensburg explains the R90m social grant system hack that happened at Postbank on Newsroom Afrika. Read the full article:R90m hack at Postbank kept under wraps On the 30th of March, amaBhungane published a story on how unknown individuals, most likely working from inside the aspiring state-owned Postbank, stole millions through the social grant system between 16 and 28 October last year. The brazen fraud involved illicitly crediting grant beneficiary accounts with large sums and then emptying these accounts out at ATMs. Postbank confirmed the theft but stressed that the money was not stolen from customers but rather from Postbank itself. “Postbank wishes not to provide too much information about the modus operandi of the cybercrime fraud incident in order to protect the sensitive processes of the investigation that is currently underway,” Postbank acting chief executive Kevin Maartens said in response to questions. The scheme was only accidentally discovered and quashed when a call-centre operator noticed a SASSA grant beneficiary account with a balance of just under R100 000 — highly anomalous for a grant recipient.
Aisha Abdool Karim
Aisha is a freelance science and health reporter. She is joining the amaB team to work on a project about water and sanitation. Aisha’s passion for long-form narrative and investigative journalism was sparked while doing her master’s degree at Columbia University in New York. After graduating in 2018, she returned to South Africa and began working as a general beat reporter for the Daily Maverick. Aisha joined the Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism in 2020 to focus on science reporting. During her time there, she covered the COVID-19 pandemic extensively — from fact-checking harmful medical misinformation to unpacking the science behind vaccine development. Aisha’s special interests include analysing health systems and in-depth coverage of public health issues and infectious diseases. She also loves spreadsheets and digging through data.