THE South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) in Mpumalanga has launched a probe into a social grant scam after beneficiaries complained of fraudulent activities.
The investigation came after a number of pensioners and disabled people approached SASSA’s offices in order to report that there were people who called and asked for their personal details.
Nozizwe Mathenjwa from Nkomazi said a few days ago, a man claiming to be a SASSA employee called her 91-year-old father, Moyeni Mathenjwa and her mother, Josephine Mathenjwa, 84, and asked for their personal details, such as names and surnames, SASSA’s card number and pin number.
“He said he wanted the personal information because SASSA wanted to update its database. He said if I refuse to give him the information both my parents will no longer get their social grants. I started to be suspicious when he asked me to give him a list of social grant beneficiaries situated in my village so that he can phone them too,” she said.
That raised alarm bells with her. She then made a decision to inform authorities of what had transpired .
“I gave him the information, but the following day, I went to SASSA’s offices to report the matter. At the SASSA office they told me that the problem has been dealt with, but to my surprise this month both my parents received R1, 200, instead of R1, 600. I will report the matter to SASSA again. These criminals must be stopped because many people will be robbed of their money,” said Mathenjwa.
SASSA spokesperson Senzeni Ngubeni confirmed that they were looking into the matter.
“I confirm that we are currently investigating a case where some people are defrauding some of our social grant beneficiaries in the province. So far we have established that people situated in Nkomazi are mostly affected by this problem. Our investigation revealed that the conman is using a 076 phone number to call the unsuspecting
pensioners and ask for their personal details and their pin numbers,” said Ngubeni.
He said the modus operandi of the suspects was to clone the cards and withdraw the money before the owner of the money withdraw it.
“We are currently working with the police in order to deal with this problem and save our people,” he said.
This is not the first time Mpumalanga social grants beneficiaries defrauded of their money.
In 2015, the Congress of the People (Cope) accompanied the pensioners to Kwamhlanga Police Station to lay charges against SASSA officials after pensioners approached the party and report that there were some people who were deducting their money without their knowledge.
Pensioners complained that their money was deducted on the grounds that they owed airtime and electricity that they bought on credit.
Cope spokesperson Denis Bloem said: “SASSA is fully aware of this problem yet the problem is continuing. We are calling on Minister Bathabile Dlamini to be fired because I really don’t see her job. In fact corruption is rife in her department and no one is holding her accountable. I wonder why all the time seems to be simply for criminals to defraud social grant beneficiaries.”