SASSA has warned social grant beneficiaries not to respond to text messages from imposters urging them to obtain new cards which are green in colour and were issued before January 2017.
However, it is too late for Barbara Ntayiya who has had airtime and electricity bills debited off her child’s social grant for the past 11 months.
Ntayiya says she first noticed deductions in December, when R100 was deducted for airtime purchases. Unable to travel to the Khayalethembe Sassa offices which are closer to her NU2 Mdantsane home, she only queried the matter in April when she was applying for her own grant.
Ntayiya said Sassa then confirmed the airtime charges. She requested Sassa to cancel the airtime deductions because she was not purchasing airtime and she didn’t even have a phone.
In May, Ntayiya was advised to apply for a green card at a place called “Net 1” also in Mdantsane. She was told that although “Net 1” was a loan institution, she would be able to get her Sassa grant through the institution without having to take a loan.
“I heard from a few people who had the same problem as I did, that if I got the green card I would get all of my money, I did not want a loan from Net 1, but just want my full grant,” she said.
After getting her green card in June Ntayiya noticed the airtime deductions had not stopped. Instead, there was an additional R200 deducted for prepaid electricity.
She was then accompanied by Thembeka Ndlaleni, who heads up the Justice Group at their Wesley Methodist Church, to the Sassa offices again, this time they were told the system was down and they could not look her up.
Later on in the month Ndlaleni went to follow-up at the Sassa offices and Sassa then emailed their head office in Johannesburg.
Head office then informed Ndlaleni that Ntayiya was on the green card and that was where the money was being deducted. Sassa informed her that they would not be able to cancel this and they should cancel the card at Net 1 where Ntayiya applied for the card.
They then went to Net 1 to request to cancel the green card and were informed they would not be able to cancel the green card at their offices, but they should call their head offices and they would assist her in cancelling the green card.
Ndlaleni further requested the meter number that had been purchasing electricity, but officials at Net 1 said they would not be able to give it to her. They did, however, provide her with the cellphone number that had been purchasing the airtime.
Ndlaleni said they have tried calling the number several times but it did not work. She said they had also given up on calling Net 1 head office as the phone was also never picked up.
“I cannot even afford to buy my child food or clothes. I really just want my child’s full grant.”
Sassa manager: communication and marketing Thamsanqa Singeni said beneficiaries should be on the lookout for people requesting their personal and card details and who pretended to be from Sassa.
Singeni said Sassa conducted its business from its own offices and beneficiaries should not accept invitations to any other office.
Singeni added that if beneficiaries had been victims of scams they could report the matter to the police.