06/06/2017 08:36 SAST | Updated 06/06/2017 08:36 SAST

Sassa Applies For Leave To Appeal Judgment Allowing Social Grant Deductions

The social security agency wants to protect grant recipients from "unscrupulous service providers".

Heliopix via Getty Images

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) plans to apply for leave to appeal a judgment handed down in the Pretoria high court ruling that service providers can still deduct money from social grant accounts.

Sassa has said that the judgment and its order "appear to have overlooked the fact that beneficiaries are at the receiving end of unauthorised deductions and it may leave them unprotected from unscrupulous service providers particularly, in the financial sector".

The grounds for appeal, according to Sassa, are that the Supreme Court of Appeal or a full bench of the high court should consider that, contrary to the judgement, grant beneficiaries don't hold their Grindrod bank accounts in their own name. Also, bank accounts privately held by beneficiaries cannot be conflated with special accounts administered by Grindrod on behalf of Sassa.

Further, Grindrod Bank and Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) are state organs by extension, as they perform a constitutional function in their distribution of social grants, therefore setting them apart from other banks. Private bank accounts cannot be combined with special accounts facilitated by Grindrod on behalf of Sassa, said the agency.

According to Grindrod Bank's website, they provide banking services for Sassa grant recipients, "paying 17 million grants to 10.6 million distinct cardholders amounting to R11 billion per month in close association with CPS, who provide the card technology and manage the card programme on behalf of the government of South Africa".

Sassa said the appeal court should also consider that it will take action against those purporting to offer Sassa loans on social media.

"Beneficiaries of social grants should report people who ask them for their personal details, like ID numbers or card PINs, and the law must take its course. The public can call 0800 601 011 or inbox us on social media in case they are unsure of anything they are told," said Sassa. - News24