In October and November 2013 the Black Sash and partners launched the 'Stop SASSA-CPS Debits Campaign'. This was later renamed "Hands Off Our Grants'.
On 20 July 2015, we initiated the Speak Out strategy in Franschoek, Western Cape. The Speak Out strategy was part of the build-up to the October 2015 mass action. The Speak Out was attended by over 50 grant beneficiaries (organized through the Paarl Advice Office), Thokozani Magwaza, acting DSD Director General for Social Security, representatives from SASSA and 1Life. This was followed by various other Speak Outs in the Western Cape including in Genadendal and Botrivier.
On 15 and 16 October 2015, the Black Sash, community and strategic partners staged three mass silent protests at St. Georges Cathedral Cape Town, SASSA Offices in Maphonya Mall in Soweto and at the SASSA National Offices in Pretoria, with approximately 1300 present. At all events memorandums were handed to DSD or SASSA officials for the attention of Minister Dlamini.
Key messages included: “SASSA take over the function of the payment of social grants from Cash Paymaster Services” “SASSA owned and controlled recourse system” “Stop all unauthorized, unlawful, fraudulent and immoral deductions” “Protect the confidential data of the grant beneficiaries”
The mass action was supported by SASSA beneficiaries’ organisations including Social Justice Coalition (SJC), Right2Know Campaign; Disabled People of South Africa, ACAOSA, Section27, Diakonia Council of Churches, Equal Education Law Centre; Justice and Peace – Archdiocese in Johannesburg, Children in Distress Network (Cindi) &ACESS.
Mass action was again held in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban on 17 – 18 October 2016 during the course of the Court hearings in the Pretoria High court
Fraudulent 1Life funeral deductions from SASSA social grants Grant beneficiaries, most of them former farm workers from the Franschoek area, went to the Paarl Advice Office, desperate to stop the 1 Life funeral cover debit deductions from their SASSA bank accounts. They were told by the broker that SASSA has instructed all grant beneficiaries to take out 1 Life funeral policies. They were also not given an opportunity to read the completed application form and were told by the agents to authorize the forms with their finger prints (biometric data). Deductions commenced and all their efforts to cancel the policies and stop the deductions fell on deaf ears. Black Sash worked together the Paarl Advice Office to ensure that the initial cohort of 18 beneficiaries receive a full refund of all the instalments paid.