Hands off Our Grants 

To stop the unauthorised, unlawful, fraudulent and immoral debit deductions from the SASSA bank accounts of social grant beneficiaries, and protect their confidential data.

Aim of this campaign

The overall goal is that progress is made towards the implementation of the new hybrid national social grants payment model; grant beneficiaries confidential data is protected; and unauthorised and unlawful deductions are permanently stopped.

The outcomes of the Hands Off Our Grants (HOOG) Campaign are:

  • The future grant payment system ensures that grant beneficiaries receive the full cash value of their grants. 
  • Leadership and governance at state institutions improved.
  • Social grant beneficiaries and CSOs are capacitated to advocate on their own behalf.

Black Sash initiated the Hands Off Our Grants campaign in 2012 in response to one of our NGO partners, KOOR (Katolieke Ontwikkeling Oranjerivier) operating in the Northern Cape. They alerted the Black Sash to large-scale unauthorised debit deductions from the SASSA-branded bank accounts of social grant beneficiaries. Just over 17 million grant beneficiaries are paid through almost eleven million bank accounts.

The Black Sash gathered evidence and made the issue public.

In February 2014, the Minister of the Department of Social Development (DSD) established a Ministerial Task Team (MTT) to explore options to stop the unauthorised, unlawful, fraudulent and/or immoral debit deductions from the SASSA-branded bank accounts.

Black Sash, Association of Community Advice Offices in South Africa (ACAOSA), various other civil society groups and senior officials from SASSA and DSD serve on this MTT.The MTT was mandated to explore ways to stop the deductions and ensure that grant recipients access appropriate recourse and refunds back-dated to 2012.

The team found that deductions were often associated with NET1 subsidiaries for advanced airtime; electricity; water; loans, funerals and prescribed debt via the SASSA created and Grindrod/ Net1-owned grant beneficiaries bank accounts.

“Everyone has the right to administrative action that is lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair.” - Section 33 of the South African Constitution.