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Grant beneficiaries to be refunded as new rules introduced

Beneficiaries who’ve had money deducted from their grants without authorisation will be refunded.

FILE: Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini. Picture: Facebook.

CAPE TOWN - Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini says pensioners and other grant beneficiaries who've had money deducted from their grants without authorisation will be refunded.

She says South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) will be setting up a 24-hour hotline and dedicated teams to take statements and deal with disputes, with a plan to fast-track cash refunds.

Scores of thousands of grant recipients have had money taken from their accounts for airtime, funeral policies, insurance and other services by companies exploiting loopholes in the regulations.

Dlamini announced yesterday new regulations under the Social Assistance Act aimed at stopping the practice.

Dlamini says the new rules are aimed at making sure social grants do what they are supposed to do, ease poverty, rather than rake in profit for companies.

"It is very easy to take the money of social grant beneficiaries without proper consent and it's very difficult for them to get their money back."

SASSA has been flooded with queries and disputes over deductions.

"We aim to stop this practice by ensuring that third parties can't simply take someone's grant."

Dlamini says there will be recourse for those affected, with refunds back-dated as far as 2012.

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