By Dr Tutu Faleni (MPL), DA North West Spokesperson Social Development:
The Democratic Alliance is concerned that illegal and unauthorised deductions are being made off of pensioners’ monthly pension payments, directly from their SASSA accounts.
These claims came to the attention of the DA at the Senior Citizens Sectoral Parliament which was held in the North West Legislature chambers on Friday 9 October 2015.
According to the information provided by the pensioners from various districts in the province, these unauthorised deductions are allegedly for the payment of electricity or airtime and collectively amount to hundreds of rands in deductions.
The pensioners allege that these deductions are made in the name of big companies and are in fact unlawful and fraudulent.
Deductions from pension payments are not permitted without the pensioner’s written and informed consent.
Pensioners are vulnerable and struggle to get by with the current pension pay-outs as is. They cannot afford to be exploited and left with even less money per month for deductions that they have not approved or authorized.
The DA’s Social Protection Policy includes welfare payments for the most vulnerable in society, like the aged, with a trustworthy and transparent system to distribute pensions that is not subject to illicit deductions.
The Democratic Alliance will today write to the North West MEC for Social Development, Ms. Fenny Gaolaolwe, requesting an immediate investigation into these unauthorized deductions from pension payments to the elderly.
The DA will also approach the chairperson of the Elderly Persons Forum in the North West Province, Professor Legotlho, requesting the names of the affected pensioners.
If any criminality emerges, the DA will not hesitate to lay charges against those responsible for the deductions.