DA calls for full investigation into SASSA green card scam
27 October 2016
The Democratic Alliance calls on North West Acting Social Development MEC, Fenny Gaolaolwe, to launch a comprehensive investigation into the ongoing fraudulent activity and pursue criminal charges against all parties involved in pension fraud across the province.
It has emerged during a Social Development meeting that pensioners are continuously exploited by fraudsters and greedy loan sharks who invade SASSA (SA Social Security Agency) pay points, targeting them for their pension money. We therefore believes that pensioners should get urgent protection.
The DA was informed of this practice that occurs provincially at a Senior Citizens Sectoral Parliament held in Christiana. MEC Gaolaolwe must launch a comprehensive investigation into this fraudulent activity and pursue criminal charges against all parties involved.
In the meantime, security should be tightened at SASSA pay points so that loan firms cannot have direct access to the vulnerable who are already suffering financially. We will also conduct our own investigation into this matter.
Without disclosing the full terms and conditions, pensioners are offered loans or funeral cover. The loaning company then takes the pensioner’s SASSA card and exchanges it for a so called green card. They are thus taking control of the pension money and pay the balance after their deductions into the green card.
Upon taking the green card pensioners are compelled to pay back the loan from the company at an extremely high interest rate.
It is unacceptable that the Department of Social Development has allowed such fraud to occur.
We demand to know how a company is able to change SASSA grant cards, make transactions and operate without the knowledge of the staff or the department.
We also call on all senior citizens in the province who receive an old age pension not to accept a green card as it is a ploy to rip them off their money. They should not sign contracts without fully understanding what the contract entails.
We advise senior citizens to verify documents from companies with a sufficiently literate family member or a consultant who is clearly identified as a SASSA official on duty at the pay point.
Senior citizens and their families should take note of the recent amendments of the regulations of the Social Assistance Act of 2004, which allows for a maximum of 10% of the grant value to be deducted and that it requires SASSA to be informed whenever a beneficiary enters into such an agreement.
The DA calls upon trustworthy relatives of senior citizens and SASSA officials to be especially vigilant as we near the festive season and assist pensioners against perpetrators and fraudsters who want to rob our elderly of their money.
Social grants are meant to assist and make provision for the vulnerable, disadvantaged and poor people in society. People who take advantage of this must prosecuted.
Issued by Tutu Faleni, DA NW Spokesperson on Social Development, 27 October 2016