Nicholas Seema, 63, of Soshanguve received fake money at a Sassa pay point.Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/ANA
Pretoria - Social grant beneficiary Nicholas Seema has laid charges with the police after allegedly receiving fake money from a South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) pay point in Soshanguve.

According to Sassa, at least five similar cases were under investigation from the same area since the beginning of the year.

The 63-year-old Seema opened the case at Rosslyn police station, and told the Pretoria News the officers confirmed to him that the money was indeed fake.

Seema said he was looking forward to buying his family groceries last Wednesday after collecting his money, but to his shock, most of the money paid to him at the pay point turned out to be fake.

The Soshanguve Extension 1 resident said he was given R1680 at Kopanong Hall in Extension 4, but only the R80 of it was original notes. “I got all my money, but when it turned out the notes were not real, I was so hurt.”

He said his family was solely dependent on his grant money. “This thing has affected me very badly because we do not have food in the house. We live on my grant money.”

He said they had little food left from last month, and he had other things that required finances.

The father of four said he only realised he was given R100 fake notes when he and his 14-year-old son went to buy groceries. “When I got home, I took R600 out and went to a supermarket outlet at Block XX with my son. We filled the basket with groceries, but when I handed the money to the woman at the till, she checked and frowned and told me the money was fake,” he said.

Seema said before he went to the supermarket, he had bought vegetables near the pay point, giving the seller R100 and receiving change with no problem at all.

Subsequent to the incident, he went back to Kopanong Hall at around 4pm, but was denied entry by the security guard at the gate. “I took the rest of the money and went back there. When I got there, they were almost done and they did not allow me to get into the building. A woman from Sassa came to the gate and told me go to the police station.”

Sassa spokesperson Nandi Mosia said they were aware of the matter and investigations were under way.

“The matter was reported to us on Friday afternoon by the old man from Soshanguve. Officials were instructed to trace him. What he was supposed to have done, was go to police first and open a case because it becomes a criminal offence as soon as a person is found in possession of fake notes. Thereafter, he should have come back to us and lodge a complaint,” Mosia said.

“We leave the matter to the SAPS for investigations until they come back to us with an outcome. But if the investigations find otherwise, then the law will take its course.”

Mosia said Seema wouldn't get his money, but would instead be given food parcels with basic food. “He will not be getting paid again this month, but what we can offer him is a food parcel because we cannot pay him twice. The food parcel consists of the basics such as vegetables, maize meal, sugar, cooking oil and flour.”

She said grant recipients should never leave the pay point if they realised they had been given fake money because it became hard to tell if the money wasn’t swopped.

Mosia added that if the money was found to be fake at the till point, the person would be assisted immediately.

She said they also urged elderly people not to allow anyone at the pay point to count their money.

“We always encourage elderly people in the Soshanguve area to refrain from asking people to count their money for them. This issue of fake notes happens and older persons are the ones targeted.”

Seema, however, said he went straight home after he was paid and no one touched his money.

Pretoria News