Begging for help

Mr Begg has been given the runaround from South African Social Services Agency and Cash Paymaster Services in his quest to get outstanding grant money owed to his mother.

A Rugby man says he has been sent from pillar to post by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and Cash Payment Services (CPS) in his efforts to get outstanding grant money owed to his elderly mother.

Arthur Begg says he has been struggling to get grant payments for the past three months, amounting to R5 100, from Sassa, who pointed him to CPS.

Mr Begg said he had realised near the end of June that he had lost his mother’s Sassa card.

He stopped working a few months ago to take care of his mother, Hester Begg, 84, who has Alzheimer’s.

According to Mr Begg, he went to Sassa on Monday July 2 to get a new card, but they told him they would need to do a house visit to issue his mother with a new card.

A week later, Mr Begg returned to Sassa to ask when he could expect the house call, but they told him they could not give him a date as he was on a “waiting list”.

By the end of August, unable to wait any longer, Mr Begg took his mother to Sassa in the Milnerton Town Hall to get a new card.

“I was getting worried because we had missed payments for July and August, and they close your account after three months if there are no withdrawals,” said Mr Begg.

His relief at getting the new card was short-lived, though, when he tried to withdraw the two months’ of Sassa payments: there was no money on the card.

Sassa told Mr Begg the first payment on the new card would only be made on October 1.

“I was told the funds from the old card CPS would have to send to the post office,” he said.

CPS cards are being phased out and will no longer work after September 30, as Sassa has entered into a new service agreement with the South African Post Office (SAPO).

Mr Begg called CPS, based in Johannesburg, and was told he needed to get an affidavit with the post office’s account details as well as a “procuration form” from Sassa to say he was the administrator of his mother’s Sassa account.

CPS told him that once he had completed the paperwork he would have to give it to Sassa, who would then send it to them.

Mr Begg went to Sassa for a procuration form and also got the affidavit from the police, but he said that when he returned to Sassa with the completed paperwork, they told him they couldn’t help him.

“Sassa said they no longer do procuration forms, which I don’t understand because I got the forms from their office.

“I am now between a rock and a hard place because CPS won’t help me until they get a procuration form from Sassa, and Sassa are not doing those forms anymore. No one is helping me.

“Sassa should have stopped the card the moment I reported it missing,” said Mr Begg.

He said he and his mother were surviving with the help of neighbours and his sister, but that they were behind with their rent.

Sassa acknowledged receipt of Tabletalk’s questions but did not respond by the time this article went to print.

SA Post Office spokeswoman Martie Gilchrist said they were “not able to address Mr Begg’s predicament” and referred Tabletalk to Sassa.

CPS spokesman Gomotsegang Motswatswe said they had no record of “interacting” with Mr Begg, although Mr Begg said he had spent hours on the phone with CPS and also had email correspondence with them.

“It appears this client was issued with a Sassa-branded post office card, as we no longer have any presence in the Sassa local offices. We have no record of interacting with the client. We will make contact and assist to have the funds transferred to their new account,” said Mr Motswatswe.

On Friday, a CPS consultant called Tabletalk asking for Mr Begg’s number.

The consultant said all Mr Begg needed to provide was a copy of his ID, an affidavit and a letter of confirmation from the bank.

Tabletalk asked why CPS had asked him for a “procuration form”, but the consultant said she was not allowed to answer questions.

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