Local campaign to stop grant deductions launched

2017-07-26 06:03
A local campaign has been launched in support of Black Sash’s ‘Hands Off Our Grants’ campaign seeking to address the deductions that occur on the accounts of grant recipients.PHOTO: Sourced

A local campaign has been launched in support of Black Sash’s ‘Hands Off Our Grants’ campaign seeking to address the deductions that occur on the accounts of grant recipients.PHOTO: Sourced

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THE “unauthorised, fraudulent and unlawful” deductions of amounts for airtime, prepaid electricity, prepaid water, funeral and insurance policies and the repayment of loans from the accounts of Sassa grant beneficiaries have been the cause of frustrations for many grant recipients, says advocacy group Black Sash.

That was what brought together various local organisations working with grant beneficiaries last Thursday at the Methodist Metro Hall to discuss how they might support the Black Sash’s “Hands Off Our Grants” campaign aimed at bringing deductions of this nature to an end.

“We are running this campaign in partnership with other organisations and today we hope to bring Pietermaritzburg-based organisations into the fold,” said Black Sash’s KwaZulu-Natal regional manager Avashnee Naidu.

She said Black Sash and its partners were first approached back in 2012 by beneficiaries from across the country complaining about the deductions made by companies unknown to them. The accounts were being deducted by amounts as little as R5, and going up to R99 or more.

“To date, unfortunately, the deductions have not stopped. Many beneficiaries are not aware of what recourse is available to them and how to access this or where to go. The majority of the beneficiaries have not received any refunds,” Naidu said.

Following Naidu’s presentation, a local initiative referred to as the Bottle Top Campaign was proposed and agreed to by some of the 18 local organisations that were part of the discussions which would be in support of the Hands Off Our Grant campaign.

The local organisations included CINDI, The Suid Afrikaanse Vrouefederasie (SAVF) and the Thandanani’s Children Foundation (TCF).

TCF’s Andrew Duncan said through this initiative, local organisations working with grant recipients are asked to run awareness workshops with grant beneficiaries they work with and then invite those experiencing deductions of this nature to collect one plastic bottle cap to represent every R10 deduction made from their grants.

“Data on the nature, extent and impact of these deductions will also be gathered. These bottle tops will then be used to create a giant art piece representing the extent and value of these deductions.

“An event to unveil the art piece will then be held at which beneficiaries will hand over a memorandum outlining their concerns and redress they require will be handed to relevant authorities,” he said.

All local organisations, non-government organisations, community-based organisations, churches and schools working with grant recipients who would like to participate in this campaign are invited to contact Suzanne Clulow on family@cindi.org.za for more information.

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