There has been some panic and confusion amongst many of the elderly in the community after receiving a notification in the mail where SASSA is encouraging them to open a bank account for money to be transferred directly into it.

Ward 70 councillor Tony Govender states that this is only an option and it is not mandatory to have an account. “Those who have a SASSA cards may continue to use it as normal by accessing your funds from grocery stores and elsewhere until end of March 2018 until further notice. If you have a current bank account, then there is no need to open another. However those who don’t have a bank account and if you want to open one, then take the forms being issued inside the Chatsworth SASSA office and go to the bank of your choice and have it stamped. Once that is done, go and hand it straight to the SASSA official and no one else,” said Govender.

Govender warned that this is like any other business where a company will make a commission from the way you use your card. “A flier was handed to many pensioners showing the different fees you will pay when using a ‘Easy Pay Everywhere’ card. I visited the SASSA office on Friday, 5 January after many pensioners from my ward were crying out for clarity. I noticed a company ‘Easy Pay everywhere’ were signing up pensioners to open a bank account through them. I made several calls to the SASSA office in Durban and thereafter advised the elderly who were sitting in the hot sun that they had a right to
make an informed decision. I believe they were of the view that they must fill in this form, otherwise they will not receive their pension.

‘Easy Pay Everywhere’ issues a green card which SASSA advised to inform residents that you should not be using the green card but only the SASSA card. ‘Easy Pay Everywhere’ is a Legitimate financial service provider. They will take all your personal information together with a scan of your thumb print and once you have their green card, any transactions you do from that card will be subject to a fee which will come out of your monthly pension.

‘Easy Pay Everywhere’ also offers a free life insurance worth R2500. In the event of your
death, the next of kin or claimant must call a number in Gauteng,” said Govender.

Govender stated that ‘Easy Pay Everywhere’ also issues small loans and just with your thumb placed into a scanner, a loan of up to R3000 can be issued to unsuspecting pensioners who may not know the ramifications of their actions if not understood properly. “I not so long ago had to assist a pensioner who insisted that she did not give the ok for a loan of R2000. Unfortunately I was unable to assist her due to proof that her thumb was used to do the transaction.

She disputed it and it was her word against the service provider. Most of our seniors are vulnerable and ill informed and they get caught up in this rut. Imagine a pensioner receiving R1600 who then takes a further loan from for R3000. By the time they pay of the monthly debt, how will they live off the balance?,” said Govender.

Govender added that the current SASSA card, although it stipulates that it has expired, is still valid until end March 2018, until the switchover to the post office. “We don’t have a positive confirmation as to whether the SASSA cards will still be in operation come April or whether a new Post office card will be issued. Either way, pensioners should not panic. We will update timeously when changes occur.

Furthermore also note that your current green bar coded ID is still valid for at least another five to seven years until the smart card ID is rolled out to all banking institutes,” said Govender.

Residents living in Ward 70 may contact Councillor Tony Govender on 082 806 9891 for further information.