Moneyline accuses Sassa of stealing its clients

The High Court in Pretoria. Picture: Ashraf Hendricks/GroundUp

The High Court in Pretoria. Picture: Ashraf Hendricks/GroundUp

Thousands of social grant beneficiaries moved off EasyPay card, court told.

Moneyline Financial Services has accused the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) of “stealing” its clients by moving them onto the new Post Office card.

Moneyline told the High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday that Sassa had moved thousands of social grant beneficiaries away from the EasyPay card to the South African Post Office (SAPO) card, resulting in a loss for Moneyline’s business.

An urgent application to stop this was heard by Judge Hans Fabricius in the High Court on Wednesday morning.

Moneyline manages the EasyPay cards, which some social grant beneficiaries use to receive their grants monthly. The EasyPay card operates like a private bank account but it has been tailored to social grant beneficiaries, offering them free funeral cover and access to mobile paypoints.

In October 2018, SAPO took over the payments of social grants from Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) after the Constitutional Court ruled the CPS contract with Sassa was invalid. SAPO introduced its own card which beneficiaries could use to receive their social grants.

Advocate Les Morison, the lawyer for Moneyline, argued that Sassa had a “political objective” in moving beneficiaries from the EasyPay card to the SAPO card. He said Sassa was “stealing” Moneyline’s clients because it had failed to pay social grants into the accounts of about 600,000 beneficiaries, who had chosen to continue using their EasyPay cards.

In order to use the EasyPay card, beneficiaries have to fill in a form and submit it to a Sassa office. But Morison said Sassa did not distinguish between beneficiaries who wanted to use their EasyPay and those who wanted to use the SAPO cards.

“These forms just disappear into the woodwork and we never see them again … We need transparency from Sassa,” said Morison. He said Moneyline wanted to be shown the receipts issued to beneficiaries who filled in the form.

Judge Fabricius asked Morison if the urgent application would be resolved if Sassa provided Moneyline with all the information it needed to ensure transparency in a written affidavit.

Morison said yes, but added that Moneyline wanted an interim order to prevent Sassa from paying beneficiaries’ social grants into SAPO cards instead of EasyPay cards in the meantime.

Fabricius refused to grant an interim order, saying he did not think it was necessary.

“Social grant payments have been in and out of these courts for years now … There has to be a time when we say let’s stop this litigation and pay these people …The interest of the beneficiaries is more important to me than your business or the state, so I’m trying to find a solution that suits everyone,” Fabricius told Morison.

Sassa agreed to submit an affidavit explaining its processes.

Fabricius told the legal teams to meet and draft an order together so that the matter could be resolved.

Republished from GroundUp

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.




today in print