Johannesburg – Elderly social grant beneficiaries from Soweto have complained that their South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) money is being stolen straight from their accounts.
One of these pensioners include 86-year-old Busisiwe* from Phiri, Soweto. On March 2, Busisiwe’s daughter went to collect a grant for older persons on behalf of her mother from the Pick n Pay outlet in Chiawelo, Soweto when her mother’s Sassa card was declined.
Thoko said she went to Sassa and was referred to the Post Office to lodge a complaint and fill in forms.
“I asked how the money was withdrawn because I’m the only person who knew my mother’s pin and card number and I was told it was withdrawn in Protea Gardens on March 1,” she said. Busisiwe was supposed to receive about R1700 for her grant.
Thoko then made multiple trips to and from the Post Office and the Sassa offices and was eventually told to make an application for a new card. However, the stolen money was not reimbursed.
“They took everything. I didn’t even get one cent,” said Busisiwe. “I applied for a new card but I haven’t received it yet and my money was not returned. I’m sitting at home hungry.”
Group executive security and investigations at the SA Post Office Vossie Vos told The Star the investigation into Busisiwe’s case was concluded and she will be refunded on Friday.
“The SA Post Office and Sassa treat all allegations of fraudulent transactions on Sassa beneficiary accounts as extremely urgent,” said Vos.
Vos said the incidence of SASSA fraud allegations are “extremely low.”
“During the March pay period from 1 March 2019 to date, more than 11 million transactions were completed successfully on the Postbank-Sassa beneficiary accounts. There are currently 8 400 000 Sassa gold card account holders. Requests to investigate possible fraud were received for less than 0,01% of these accounts,” he said.
Vos added that an investigation team has been set up to deal with alleged fraud cases and if fraud is suspected, beneficiaries are said to be reimbursed within 15 days.
“Grant recipients who suspect fraud should therefore immediately report it to their nearest post office. Where the beneficiary is elderly or handicapped, it can also be reported by his or her next of kin or proxy,” he said.
Thoko said she hopes this kind of fraud does not happen again because it was painful for her mother and other pensioners who experienced the same problem.