Durban - Many South African Security Agency (SASSA) grant beneficiaries, during the latest card swop process, ended up with the Easy Pay Everywhere (EPE) green card often through devious and unethical means according to an expert panel monitoring the changeover in the social grant payment system.
“Grant beneficiaries are told by CPS and Net1 sale agents that the EPE card is the new SASSA/SAPO card,” wrote the panel in a report submitted to the Constitutional Court.
The report requested the Constitutional Court to instruct Net1 [parent company of Cash Paymaster Services(CPS)] to provide information on the revenue streams and costs it is generating, assessing the extent of undue profit.
“The revenue includes charging grant beneficiaries a R10 monthly maintenance fee on the SASSA branded Grindrod bank accounts since April 1, 2018 and income generated from charging beneficiaries ATM withdrawal fees.”
In response to these allegations, CPS spokesperson, Bridget von Holdt, said CPS does not extend any credit or loans and that the EasyPay Everywhere Card is marketed by a completely separate company called Moneyline Financial Services.
“Moneyline Financial Services is a registered credit provider and a registered financial services provider. The marketing is performed outside the perimeter of the pay point, alongside all the other banks, insurance brokers and other service providers who market their goods and services to grant recipients,” said Von Holdt.
Von Holdt added that CPS provides a cash payment service to SASSA beneficiaries in accordance with the contract between CPS and SASSA.
“Each new EasyPay Everywhere customer receives a full information pack which contains the terms and conditions, as well as the fees associated with the account,” she said.
Phoenix, Ward 49 councilor, Donovan Tino Pillay said, “Officials here[Phoenix SASSA branch] don't give the proper information to our seniors and small financial companies are giving misinformation by informing them that the new SASSA card is another card.”
In response, provincial SASSA communications manager Vusumuzi Mahaye said that officials advise beneficiaries about the benefits of the SASSA gold card.
“Customers are given a choice to choose method of payment. Advantages and disadvantages are fully explained in terms of bank charges,” Mahaye.
54-year-old SASSA beneficiary, Shareen Khan said she got the green Easy pay card because many people were having problems with the post office card.
“I never take the post office card, I took the easy pay so you can use it at the supermarket, I think that’s easier than waiting at the post office and waiting in queues and lines to collect your money,” Khan said.
When asked by councilor Pillay why she changed from her SASSA card to the easy pay card, Khan said: “I dont know, I only knew I had to change the card.”