File picture: David Ritchie/Independent Media
Johannesburg – The Democratic Alliance (DA) has described Tuesday's ruling in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, which ordered that Net1 can continue making deductions from grant recipients' bank accounts, as "a huge blow to the poor".

"... the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that Net1 can continue making deductions from grant beneficiaries’ bank accounts is a huge blow to the poor which will further cripple the most vulnerable in our society," DA Cederberg Constituency Head and MPP, Lorraine Botha, said soon after the ruling on Tuesday.

"I do hope this judgement is taken on appeal and I will fully support such an appeal process, with the belief that the appeals court will rule differently on this matter."

"Furthermore, I will invite CPS and Net1 to come and brief the Western Cape Standing Committee on Community Development and explain how and when the reimbursements for airtime and electricity will be settled."

Botha said the law "is very clear" that deductions made from the pension grant should not exceed 10% and can only be made for funeral cover.

"It is vital that the poorest of the poor in our society do not continue to suffer from these unacceptable deductions, and that they are no longer manipulated or exploited," said Botha.

"We continue to be deeply concerned by the likes of Net1 and CPS, the financial bodies responsible for the payment of grants, seeing that 19 of CPS’s employees were arrested for corruption. This company continues to have access to funds which are specifically set aside for the poor in our society."

"I once again call on Sassa (South Africa Social Security Agency) and the National Department of Social Development to hastily insource the payment of grants, to ensure that these unauthorised deductions cease and if need be, that criminal charges be laid against any individual or group found to be liable for these deductions."

Botha said the DA will continue to ensure that all Western Cape beneficiaries are safe from corrupt individuals.

African News Agency