Pensioner’s Sassa grant headache

A Melkbosstrand pensioner says the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) slashed his grant by mistake, and he wants his money.

Jan van der Merwe, 76, said Sassa had reduced his grant from R1117.11 to R337.11 in April last year.

“They say I get an income from the flat I’m letting from my front property, but that money does not go to me; it goes to the bond. My son signed surety on the bond because of my age. He collects that money for the bond,” he said.

The retired building inspector said Sassa had reviewed his income in September 2014 and then told him he had signed an affidavit saying he received R4 000 rental.

However, Mr Van der Merwe denies signing any such document.

He said he had approached Sassa about the problem but they had been unable to help him.

“They say I must go to the tribunal court in Pretoria but I don’t want to because it is government supported and they will only cover the matter up.”

Sassa Western Cape spokesperson Shivani Wahab said:“As per the Sassa Act (13/2004) income is determined by ‘any rental payable to the applicant or his or her spouse for providing accommodation’. Based on this, Mr Van der Merwe received payment for renting a room (or part of his property) for accommodation purposes. The payment of the rental income was in turn paid towards his bond.

“Sassa does not take into consideration any expenses incurred by the applicant for repayment of bond instalments.”

Ms Wahab said Mr Van der Merwe could still pursue that matter through the national Department of Social Development’s appeals tribunal .

Ms Wahab said Mr Van der Merwe could request a copy of the affidavit from Sassa’s Cape Town local office.

However, Mr Van der Merwe said he had not done that. Instead, he gave Tabletalk a letter, dated December 29 2015, requesting to see the affidavit.

In the letter, sent to Sassa manager Peter Burger, Mr Van der Merwe states: “I declare I never signed an affidavit and defy Sassa to give me a copy of this affidavit, which only they know about.”

Mr Van der Merwe said his request had been ignored.