Advocacy group Black Sash has welcomed the National Minister for Social Development's announcement that her department, along with the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa), would pursue legal action against Cash Paymasters Services (CPS). The move relates to allegations that CPS was conducting unauthorized deductions from the accounts of social grant recipients.
Whilst admitting that the deductions were technically legal, Minister Bathabile Dlamini noted that they came across as immoral and an exploitation of the poor. In recent weeks, VOC has been inundated with complaints from social grant recipients affected by the deductions.
Black Sash advocacy manager, Elroy Paulus, said they were appreciative that the minister had taken such a bold stance towards the issue. He said the minister had accepted all the recommendations put forward by her own task team, to bring about a stop to the "unlawful and immoral deductions".
"The minister drew a line in the sand, and she gave Cash Paymasters Services (CPS) in particular, who is 100% owned by a company called Net1, 14 days to respond to her intention to take them to court," he said.
He added that regardless of CPS's response to the minister's ultimatum, her task team would continue to assess the situation.
Since the announcement however, Black Sash has reportedly received a lot of flak from the business sector. Paulus noted they had received a letter from CPS, suggesting they would be held accountable for any libelous statements made.
"I think if the experiences and daily hardships of our poor people are libelous and problematic, then so be it. I think the truth must be spoken," he said. He said any legal action would be worthwhile, if any of the parties who were responsible.
Paulus also reiterated their stance that the deductions were unlawful, and immoral. However, he refused to describe them as illegal."We were advised to say it is unlawful and immoral, but we were also advised that we shouldn't use the word illegal," he said.
He urged community members experience similar problems to keep a hold of all receipts and documentation, which could be used as evidence once they approached the police.
VOC (Mubeen Banderker)