Is the Post Office stealing Sassa money from pensioners?

Those getting paid by the Post Office each have a Post Bank card. Picture: Supplied

Those getting paid by the Post Office each have a Post Bank card. Picture: Supplied

Published May 19, 2024


The most vulnerable in society rely on the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa), however, pensioners have been bearing the brunt from the Post Bank payouts.

Post Banks are situated inside every South African Post Office (Sapo).

Pensioners from the age of 60 receive R2,180 a month and from the age of 75, receive R2,200.

Pensioners have come forward, raising some discrepancies in their monthly payouts from the Gatesville Post Office.

Speaking to IOL, Penelope Carstens*, 79, from Belgravia in Athlone said she has been receiving her payouts via Post Bank since February last year, however, it remains a constant struggle.

“I was too scared to come forward because it seems people will target me and I rely on this money, not only for myself, but my grandchildren who I take care of as well.

“Every month, religiously, R200 to R300 less is paid out. I have no loans, and with the price of food we are already barely surviving.

“Many of my fellow pensioners have also been complaining. I went to the Sassa offices in Wynberg, only for them to show me on their system my full amount of R2,200 is paid out every month,” Carstens said.

After visiting the Sassa offices, she has been advised to open a bank card to receive her payments.

“What is the Post Office doing with our money? Who steals from pensioners? We barely have enough to eat, now we get even less. I was advised to open a bank account, but how do I do that without having money?” she questioned.

Another pensioner from Rondebosch, Fatima Mitchell*, 74, said she only started having problems with a lack of funds in the last four months.

“I have not been getting my money in full. Only R2,000. Everyone (myself and my friends included). At times we don’t get any money, they tell us to come the next day or the day thereafter,” Mitchell told IOL.

She also went to enquire at the Sassa offices why funds were missing once paid out.

“Sassa told me Post Bank is using our money, our balances for their debt because they are in debt. I don’t know what to do, because none of us are getting our (full) money. We stand in line from 6am and at times the money only comes from 1pm or later.

“Many times we are told we cannot enter the bank because we would make a noise. We cannot ask for balances otherwise we would not receive our R2,000. I don’t know what to do because Sassa told me they pay our money out in full. I saw it on the computer they did pay it out in full, but Post Bank doesn’t give our money, not only mine, but everyone else’s as well,” Mitchell said.

The Sapo has been going through much turmoil after almost 5,000 employees could be retrenched after they were dealt a big blow after the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and a Single Adjudication Committee ruled that their Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) relief funding application has been denied earlier this month.

The relief funding application was brought by the Joint Business Rescue Practitioners and relevant labour unions to get funding for the Post Office’s bargaining unit staff.

Sapo is now looking for help from the private sector as it tries to remain afloat and liquid.

Spokesperson for Sassa, Shivani Wahab said unauthorised deductions from social grants have been a long-standing issue.

“Sassa does not sell, support, or endorse any products (loans and airtime) from financial service providers. In some instances beneficiaries could have consented to loans resulting in these deductions, and in other cases beneficiaries are also often exposed to scams that result in deductions from their social grants. Grant recipients must protect themselves against financial exploitation.

“Sassa encourages beneficiaries to have their social grants deposited directly into their personal banking accounts The affected beneficiaries are advised to contact Sassa for further assistance,” Wahab said.

Spokesperson for the Post Office, Louise Brugman said it does not do payouts from its offices on the Sassa/Post Bank Gold cards.

“These withdrawals must take place at ATMs and other retail outlets like Checkers.

We do, however, have certain Sassa beneficiaries that make use of normal Post Bank accounts (not Sassa Gold cards) to receive their grants. These we still entertain at our offices,” Brugman said.

She said in order to investigate the allegations, the Post Office needed the information of the grant beneficiaries.

“Have they contacted Sassa? or Post Bank? But if it is on the Post Office side, for the Post Office to be able to look at cash flow movement in the accounts we need the details (ID, name and surname, and Post Bank account number) of the complainants to conduct an investigation to establish if there is misconduct, fraud, or theft involved.

“They can contact the ethics line on 0800 020 070. Once we have properly documented complaints, an investigator will be assigned who will conduct a full investigation and report back to the head of forensics with a final investigation report,” Brugman said.

Disputes regarding any unauthorised deductions may be lodged by contacting the Sassa toll-free number at 080 0 60 10 11 or visiting the nearest Sassa office for assistance.

An SMS may also be sent to 34548 with the following information: topic: dispute, ID number, name and surname, financial service provider name, policy duration and reason for dispute.

[email protected]


*names have been changed