So­cial grant de­duc­tions con­tinue to slip through

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - SANDISO PHALISO

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.

PIC­TURE: BHEKI RADEBE

MANY COM­PLAINTS: A so­cial grants ben­e­fi­cia­ries queue at the Net1 of­fices in Bizana.

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