South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) beneficiaries have expressed frustration over unauthorised deductions from their accounts. Many individuals that have contacted VOC complained that they did not know that this money would be deducted from their accounts, furthermore, stating that no indication was given regarding the reason for the deductions.
“Deductions like electricity and airtime is not illegal at this point in time, because it is not stipulated that people cannot have deductions or buy airtime and electricity. However, we [SASSA] are trying to litigate against that,” said SASSA senior district manager, Ebrahim Ryland.
Ryland further noted that if individuals who did not consent to any deductions, whether it be for the purchase of electricity or a short term loan, are required to provide an affidavit that proves that they have not authorised any deductions to be made from their account.
Beneficiaries should expect a reply from SASSA within 72 hours of the complaint. If it is found that the client has not authorised the deduction, the money will be paid back into their account.
Following the investigation of complaints, SASSA has found that in certain instances individuals did not authorise the deductions. They have however discovered that under particular cases individuals have authorised the deductions for short term loans and electricity.
SASSA has confirmed that they have received many complaints of unauthorised deductions, and will be investigating the matter further. Ryland, however, indicated that SASSA is unable to confirm whether or not the current unauthorised deductions are as a result of fraudulent activity.
Provincial Minister of Social Development, Albert Fritz, believes that the deductions are occurring at the point of deposit and that the problem does not appear to originate at SASSA.
With regard to the channels of communication between the National and Provincial Government in response to the SASSA deductions, Ryland stressed that SASSA is a national competency.
“The MEC has an oversight responsibility [and] there is an open line to the Provincial regional executive manager, Dr Waldemar Terblanche. [And] as long as the protocols are observed the lines will remain open,” he further stated.
Ryland concluded by asserting that SASSA, as a social grant provider, is to be used for an individual’s basic needs.
“If people need airtime, if they need electricity, rather just go into a café and buy it; otherwise the money will just be deducted from your SASSA account, which can lead to complications further down the line,” Ryland advised.
In an attempt to provide recourse for victims, Minister Fritz has indicated that his department has appointed an individual who is now exclusively monitoring complaints of unauthorised SASSA deductions.
Minister Fritz further stated that since this is not a provincial competency and he has written to the Minister of the Department of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, and urged her to manage the situation. The minister noted that he is in the process of finding legal recourse for those affected.
“It is important to note that no SASSA deductions will be made apart from funeral benefits, which cannot exceed 10%. Individuals are therefore urged not to provide any personal information, specifically an identity number or an account number, when approached by individuals posing as SASSA employees,” Fritz warned.
For any queries related to unauthorised SASSA deductions, please contact 021 469 0200.
Alternatively, affidavits can be processed at the following address Monday to Thursdays:
Cnr. of A Z Berman & Kilimanjaro St, Tafelsig Cape Town
The Nelson Mandela Family and Youth Centre
VOC (Thakira Desai)