The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) working with South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) have arrested people caught with SASSA cards, large sums of cash and the private commercial bank cards of social grant beneficiaries in their possession.
According to a media statement from SASSA, a total of 17 people, all of them unregistered moneylenders, were arrested following a joint operation by the Fraud and Compliance Unit in SASSA and the Hawks.
The Hawks seized 159 cards and R 85 800 in cash. The suspect with the most cards was found with 39 cards and the largest sum in the possession of one suspect was R 11 090. At the time of the arrest, this particular money-lender was still busy transacting, SASSA said in the statement.
According to Section 20(0) of the Social Assistance Act, 2004 (Act 13 of 2004) it is unlawful to transfer/cede or pledge your social grant.
“SASSA urges all social grant beneficiaries not to use their social grants and payment cards to obtain loans, and cede their cards as guarantees for repayment.
“The Agency is working closely with law enforcement agencies to remedy and curb illegal handling of payment cards and documents by moneylenders.
“SASSA would like to request all social grant beneficiaries to protect SASSA cards in their possession. They must not give their card to anyone else, and under no circumstances should they divulge their PIN (personal identification number) to anyone. This PIN is the key to an account and must be protected at all times.”
For more information call the SASSA toll free call centre at 0800 60 10 11.