Sassa refunds pensioner’s stolen money

James Matthews, 90, from Silvertown, is relieved that he was refunded his R3 000 which was fraudulently withdrawn from his South African Social Security Agency account.

An elated James Matthews, 90, from Silvertown, is relieved that the R3 000 which was fraudulently withdrawn from his South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) account was refunded to him.

Mr Matthews is of the view that he was refunded only because of the Athlone News article about his ordeal (“Card fraud woes haunt pensioner,” Athlone News, November 20, 2019)

The author, poet and activist had been saving up some money on his card, as he wanted to buy himself something special for Christmas.

In November, his neighbour, Kevin Fransman, who looks out for the well-being of Mr Matthews, told the Athlone News about how they struggled to withdraw the pensioner’s money, but that the card was declined at all the ATMs they tried.

By Monday November 4, when his card was still being declined, Mr Matthews and Mr Fransman went to the Athlone Sassa office to get some answers. Mr Matthews then cancelled his Sassa card and opened a bank account.

Shivani Wahab, the regional Sassa spokesperson, confirmed at the time, that an investigation was under way, and that Mr Matthews’ pension will be paid into his bank account in December.

She added that Sassa had zero tolerance for fraud and was working with banks and other relevant stakeholders to ensure that fraud within the system was defeated.

Said Mr Matthews: “I just want to thank the Athlone News for the hard work they do. I am sure my matter was resolved because of your intervention.”