Social grant deductions continue to slip through
NONTLAHLA Nxuza was deeply upset at a social grant pay point in Bizana in the Eastern Cape after she received only R70 of her R350 child support grant last week.
It was the second time that R80 for electricity and R200 for airtime had been deducted from her grant money.
After The Star’s sister paper, the Cape Times, interviewed the 32-year-old mother of four, she went to Net1 UEPS Technologies – the parent company of Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) which disburses social grants – to lay a complaint with its officials.
Net1 has been at the centre of a legal dispute over whether it can lawfully make deductions from grant payments for micro loans‚ airtime and other financial services.
For her almost two hours with Net1, the officials were making phone calls in an attempt to verify what had happened. Nxuza was then told her matter would be investigated.
Nxuza was supposed to buy three of her children school jerseys, but could not do so.
Nxuza said she neither bought the airtime nor the electricity deducted from her money. Others standing in line had the same issue.
Ntombi Mbexo, 66, said she had desperately tried to stop the electricity and airtime deductions but couldn’t.
“It was surprising the deductions went through again. I have tried to stop them but I was unsuccessful. Someone at Net1 is taking money meant (for) the poor,” said Nxuza.
Recently appointed Net1 chief financial officer Herman Kotze took dozens of journalists to Bizana, one of the busiest paypoints, to interact with beneficiaries and respond to the challenges last week.
Kotze denied that the beneficiaries’ personal information has been shared with third parties to make transactions on their accounts.
He said Net1 would, in the next few days, reveal an internal ombudsman that would deal with the complaints.
“We received many complaints from people saying airtime and electricity had been debited or deducted from their grants. Every complainant is investigated and when we find irregularities we refund,” Kotze said.
MANY COMPLAINTS: A social grants beneficiaries queue at the Net1 offices in Bizana.