Sassa system to refund unauthorised debits “not working”

By Barbara Maregele —

An 88-year-old Nyanga resident has had over R2,400 deducted from his pension since April last year for a loan he says he never made.

“I used a lot of money to investigate what happened. I really need that money. I’m getting old now and it’s not safe in my area anymore. I need that money to fix my house,” said Sipho Lennox Bani.

In October last year, the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) implemented a new system it claimed would assist beneficiaries to resolve disputes for unauthorised deductions and refund their money. But according to Black Sash, Bani is among hundreds of beneficiaries who are yet to be refunded.

It comes as Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini announced in December 2015 that all deductions from child grants will be stopped from 1 January. Legally, the only deduction which can be made from all social grants before it is paid to a beneficiary, is a 10% deduction for funeral insurance. But once the money is in the beneficiary’s bank account, he or she can authorise other deductions.

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