Grants can be forfeited

2019-04-17 06:02

The South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) in the Free State says about 5 000 social grant beneficiaries are yet to collect new gold cards past the deadline of November 2018.

Sandy Godlwana, Sassa’s provincial spokesperson, said the unclaimed 5 000 new gold cards were part of the over 99 000 new uncollected cards nationally. The agency completed the switch to a new gold card in December, effectively swapping over seven million old cards.

According to the agency’s latest statistics, over 12 million beneficiaries receive social grants in South Africa.

Godlwana said the tracing of the beneficiaries of the 5 000 uncollected gold cards in the province was ongoing.

This is done via written letters, phone calls and visits to physical addresses appearing in their applications.

“The search has been intensified with the verification of the beneficiaries’ status at the Department of Home Affairs. The process is to determine if they are deceased, do exist or ever existed,” said Godlwana.

She said Sassa and Post Office employees have gone an extra mile to conduct home visits on request to beneficiaries who, due to ill-health, are unable to confirm and swap over to the new gold cards.

The agency warned that anyone who fails to swap the old card for the new gold card will not be able to get cash, starting January 2019.

Beneficiaries were strongly warned that failure to collect money for three successive months will forfeit grants.

The new gold cards system is parallel with government’s revised anti-fraud mechanism.

Godlwana said the verification process at the Department of Home Affairs was crucial to clamp down on “ghost social grants” beneficiaries who swindle the agency.

“The process will assist in curbing fraud – both nationally and internationally,” said Godlwana.

In October 2016 the Department of Social Development reported that it managed to recoup more than R1 billion from unspent social and disability grants as a result of its corruption-fighting mechanism to uncover fraudulent grants.

To exchange the old card for the new one, beneficiaries are advised to bring their ID document and the old card to be issued with the new gold card.

Beneficiaries are urged to report in person at Sassa or to call its toll-free number, 0800-60-1011, for assistance in collecting their new cards.

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