Black Sash Back In Court To Ensure Social Grant Beneficiaries Protected from Unauthorised and Unlawful Deductions
Wednesday 15 August 2018
On Thursday 16 August 2018 the Supreme Court of Appeal will hear arguments by the Black Sash and the Social Security Agency of South Africa to appeal the judgment of the High Court in Pretoria that the Regulations (to the Social Assistance Act) passed by the Minister in 2016 effectively permit social grant payment provider Net1 Applied Technologies – through its subsidiaries including Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) – to continue making deductions from social grants.
The High Court judgment held that amendments to regulations governing the payment of social grants should not hinder deductions made from beneficiaries’ bank accounts and ruled that social grant beneficiaries should not be restricted in how they choose to use their Grinrod bank accounts.
The judgment stems from four court cases brought by private companies, including Net1 and its subsidiaries (Moneyline, Manje Mobile and Smartlife), against SASSA and the Department of Social Development to challenge the amendments to the regulations which guide the application and payment of social assistance. The regulations were intended to halt deductions from social grants.
The companies argued that they should be entitled to have access to SASSA bank accounts and that grant beneficiaries should have the right to contract freely, thus allowing deductions and debit orders to continue being made from SASSA bank accounts into which social grant are paid. The Black Sash is appealing the judgment, seeking conditional counter-relief from the Court to and is seeking an order that the Minister of Social Development amend the regulations to protect grant beneficiaries from exploitative practices.
“For many years we have been witness to the dire consequences of social grants servicing debt, these practices need to be stopped by effective regulations and oversight” says Hoodah Abrahams-Fayker, National Advocacy Manager, Black Sash.
More than 17 million South Africans depend on grants, many of whom are trapped in a cycle of debt.
Through its work and that of its partner organisations, the Black Sash receives thousands of complaints that corporate entities have unjustifiably depleted the social grants of beneficiaries. These are not isolated incidents, but endemic across South Africa, affecting millions of beneficiaries.
“It is our hope that the court will empower the State to properly protect social grants from exploitary practices. Social grant should not be used to service debt. The State has a constitutional obligation to protect social grants against exploitation,” concludes Abrahams-Fayker.
- The matter will be heard on Thursday 16 August, starting from 09h00 in Court A at the Supreme Court of Appeal.
- Black Sash will also be mobilising members to demonstrate outside the court on Thursday.
For Media Interview please contact:
Centre for Applied Legal Studies
Wandisa Phama, Attorney
078 684 3140 / 011 717 8608
Black Sash Trust
Black Sash National Advocacy Manager
072 252 0333 / 021 686 6952