PLAN: Social services

Pretoria – The Black Sash Trust said it was disappointed by the North Gauteng High Court’s decision to refuse the application for leave to appeal an earlier ruling which allowed Net1 to deduct money from the accounts of social grant beneficiaries.

In May, the court ruled against the order by the Department of Social Development and South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) to stop Net1 from allowing deductions from accounts of grant beneficiaries.

In his judgment, acting Judge CJ van der Westhuizen said: “The applications should not be granted because the issues raised in the application were not appropriate to the approach adopted in this judgment and particular in view of the relief sought.”

The court also dismissed an application by Black Sash to be part of the proceedings.

Sassa, the minister of Social Development and Black Sash later sought leave to appeal this judgment, believing that the court’s decision left grant beneficiaries vulnerable.

The leave to appeal application was heard on Tuesday and was refused.

“In refusing the application, the court found that there is no distinction between social grant beneficiaries’ accounts held at Grindrod Bank and any other bank account held at another bank; and that the regulations do not operate to restrict beneficiaries in the operation of their bank account,” Black Sash explained in a statement.

The trust said it was disappointed by Tuesday’s court ruling.

“We are disappointed by today’s outcome, especially given the Constitutional Court’s March decision which recognised that grant beneficiaries’ accounts do require special protection,” Black Sash said.

“We remain committed to protecting grant beneficiaries from exploitation and unlawful deductions from their social grants.”