PHASE: Post Office
Cape Town - The Banking Association SA (Basa) is investigating the conduct of SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) and the SA Post Office (Sapo) regarding the opening of accounts after they received a complaint from Finbond Mutual Bank.

“We can confirm receiving a letter of complaint from Finbond regarding Sassa and related matters,” Basa said.

“We are aware that discussions are under way to resolve this issue in the interests of grant beneficiaries.”

Sapo said the transfer of one million social grant beneficiaries from the outgoing Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) card to the new Sassa card has been completed.

There are still about 9 million more beneficiaries to go before September.

Last week, the association received a complaint about the communications campaign carried out by Sassa.

The Cape Argus reported on confusion in communication with regards to Post Bank cards and the new Sassa card, some beneficiaries were not aware of the differences between the two. Beneficiaries often confused the two cards, as they expect money to be automatically paid into the Post Bank card.

Finbond chief executive Carol van Heerden in the complaint said: “We have come across a number of campaigns driven by Sassa and Sapo, targeting grant beneficiaries, where beneficiaries are not informed of their choice to have their grants paid into their personal bank accounts. In fact these campaigns are directed at requiring the grant beneficiaries to switch to Sapo products only, with no or limited information on Sapo product.” Van Heerden also raised issues over the conduct of Sassa officials.

“Sassa officials have destroyed our bank cards. They have threatened and coerced our customers to switch from Finbond Bank accounts to Sapo.

Sapo chief operating officer Lindiwe Kwele said people have been persuaded to accept cards other than the new Sassa cards, which she said could have illegal deductions. “We have seen people being unwittingly persuaded to accept other cards only to realise later that they will be charged all sorts of exorbitant fees.

“The new gold Sassa card guarantees you will not be debited with a monthly service fee of R10, or illegal deductions for loans, airtime or electricity.”

Kwele said the Post Office and Sassa have deployed teams throughout the country where dedicated temporary card swop sites are established using existing infrastructure to expedite the migration.

“This will ensure as many people as possible are put on to the new Sassa cards before the end of August.”

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Cape Argus