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Battle for illegal social grants deductions heats up

Sassa revealed more than 18,000 complaints of unauthorised deductions have been reported in the past year.

Sassa card. Picture: ‏@OfficialSASSA.

CAPE TOWN - A social grant distribution company wants a court to scrap regulations preventing deductions from the South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) accounts.

Last month, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini announced regulations prohibiting companies from deducting money from child social grant accounts.

Net 1 Technologies, which pays out social grants through subsidiary Cash Paymaster Services, has filed papers in the North Gauteng High Court.

The company claims the new regulations violate the Constitutional rights of Sassa beneficiaries and prohibits them from enjoying a low-cost and reliable service.

The company further states the laws will introduce financial risk by forcing grant beneficiaries to carry cash.

Sassa says it will fight any attempts to overturn the new regulations and Social Development expects to file responding documents over the next two weeks.

The department says beneficiaries lose millions as a result of illegal and unauthorised deductions annually.

Last month, Western Cape Provincial Legislature members lambasted Sassa officials for taking too long to address illegal social grant deductions.

This is after Sassa and Social Development Department officials had briefed the Standing Committee on Social Development about illegal and fraudulent deductions.

They revealed more than 18,000 complaints of unauthorised deductions have been reported in the past year.

Social Development Director-General Thokozani Magwaza responded by saying work is being done to ensure the challenges are being addressed.