Pensioners in KwaZulu-Natal have already been labelled the soft targets of increased criminal activity. They have been dealt yet another severe blow as SASSA (South African Social Security Agency) ‘scammers’ hit the province yet again.

The situation comes after the recent migration from the former SASSA card to the new South African Post Office (SAPO) card, with many pensioners believing that this would bring an end to fraudulent deductions from their accounts. Regrettably, this has not been the case. To add to this, cards are also being cloned with the result that funds are withdrawn before recipients even get to pay points.

The South African Post Office recently launched an intense investigation into the possible card fraud affecting SASSA grant beneficiaries. Currently, all recipients who were victims of fraudulent withdrawals are requested by SASSA to provide a sworn affidavit, a copy of the SAPO card and South African Identity Document. All documents to be handed over to SASSA office for an investigation.

In a statement the Democratic Alliance said, “We encourage the elderly to avoid becoming targets by not divulging any personal information, particularly over the phone. SASSA would not call you
to update your information.”

SASSA’s general manager for security and investigations, Vossie Vos, said “The Post Office and SASSA treated allegations of fraud as ‘extremely important’ and all were handled on an urgent basis. The SA Post Office has streamlined its procedures for investigating allegations of possible card fraud from SASSA accounts in order to minimise the inconvenience to beneficiaries and to effect refunds as quickly as possible.”

68-year-old Pamela Naidoo said, “I am unable to collect grant for two months now. When I attempted to receive my monthly grant they told me I had already withdrawn it for the month. I do not know much about this, my children are dealing with it as I have not collected my grant for two months.”

Naidoo’s daughter, Deanndra Govender said, “My mum called frantic around two months ago saying she cannot collect her grant for the month because it was already withdrawn. I then proceeded
to follow up with the relevant people, I have not received any feedback since.”

Another resident, Ricardo Pillay said, “My father’s grant card was tracked to a small town in the Eastern Cape. We do not have family in the Eastern Cape and neither do we travel there. It is unacceptable that they do not want to assist with some feedback. It has been over three months now. We need some answers.”

Elenor Davids said, “I reported the issue for my mother-in-law and we are still awaiting a response. She has not received her grant for a month now.”

SASSA advises beneficiaries if they suspected fraud, he or she should take their ID to the nearest Post Office and immediately report the incident. “Officials would help the beneficiary complete an affidavit and notify the affected person once the investigation had been resolved. A proxy or next of kin could also report the incident in the case of the elderly or handicapped,” said Vos.