Pensioners left in limbo after social grant withdrawals

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Tumelo Waga Dibakwane

A NUMBER of SASSA beneficiaries in Mpumalanga were left in limbo this month after their money was withdrawn without their knowledge.

According to some of the beneficiaries who spoke to NEWSHORN the money was withdrawn by unknown people in different provinces.

The victims, mostly elderly people, claimed that their grants were withdrawn at retail shops outside the province.

One of the victims, Mildred Mashiloane (65) from Alexandria in Bushbuckridge, said she got the shock of her life when she was told her money was collected at a shop in Durban.

“I was surprised that the money was withdrawn in Durban because I don’t even know where Durban is. If I was staying with someone in my house I would suspect them of stealing my SASSA card, but since I stay alone in my house I don’t know what exactly happened. I depend on that money for food and other things,” a distressed Mashiloane said.

Mpumalanga SASSA spokesperson, Senzeni Ngubeni, confirmed that the agency has received a number of complaints about beneficiaries who have lost their cards resulting in social grants being withdrawn fraudulently.

“We will investigate this matter and find out what happened.  Beneficiaries must note that no person can withdraw their money without their consent unless provided with a pin code and the card.

“Sharing pin codes with the untrusted members of families or strangers often results in loss of social grants payments and undue hardships,” said Ngubeni.

He urged those accessing social grants at ATMs to make sure they observe their surroundings and environment and move away if they notice suspicious people before using an ATM.

He further said that beneficiaries were warned that if an ATM machine was obstructed from their view or poorly lit, they should not use it.

They should also not ask assistance from strangers; and after the transaction was completed they must put cash, card and their receipt away immediately, he said.

“At the merchants, beneficiaries must memorise their pin codes and insert cards themselves. Beneficiaries are discouraged to write down their pin as it possesses a risk should the beneficiary misplace the card. We would like to encourage old age grant beneficiaries to rather access their social grants at the nearest South African Post Offices,” he urged.