Social grant fraud

Shivani Wahab, regional spokesperson, South African Social Security Agency (SASSA)

In response to last week’s article (“Card fraud woes haunt pensioner,” Athlone News, November 20), where James Matthews, 90, said R3 000 was fraudulently taken from his Sassa card, Sassa can confirm that Mr Matthews’s Sassa card was not cancelled. It is still active.

However, after the alleged fraudulent transaction on the card on Saturday November 2, Mr Matthews went on to open a bank account at a bank of his choice.

We can confirm that the social grant payment for Mr Matthews for the month of December will be paid into his bank account.

In respect of other social-grant beneficiaries affected nationally by fraud, a total of 6 000 social grant payments were initially stopped, and, in August, the number was then reduced to 500 suspended social-grant accounts.

Sassa went through an intensive process of studying trends linked to social grant fraud. Systems and controls have since been tightened.

Please note that Sassa has zero tolerance for fraud, and we are working with banks and other relevant stakeholders to ensure that fraud within the system is defeated.

Sassa would like to advise social-grant beneficiaries who suspect any fraudulent activities taking place on their social-grant account or whose payments have been stopped, to visit their nearest Sassa local office. The beneficiary will have to complete an affidavit.

This can be done at their nearest Sassa or post office, and the beneficiary may be referred to SAPS to open a criminal case.

The turn-around time for investigations into fraudulent transactions is 21 working days.

Sassa social-grant beneficiaries are responsible for ensuring that their information with Sassa is accurate and current at all times.

Updating personal information can be done at the nearest Sassa office.

Sassa remains committed to ensuring that social grant money is received by every citizen who is entitled to this, in line with our commitment of paying the right grant to the right person at the right time and place.