The government has handed Sassa grants over to American loan sharks and is robbing the poorest of the poor
For years the government has claimed it has been helping the poorest of the poor. Now, research by ILRIG (International Labour Research and Information Group), has shown that the government has given over control of the Sassa grants to the hands of an American loan shark called Net1. This company was set up in Florida, USA, in 1997. This American loan shark is parasiting on workers in Iraq , South Korea, UK, Namibia, Nigeria, Malawi, Cameroon, the Phillipines, India and Columbia. Net 1 has partnered with Grindrod to set up Grindrod retail bank, a loan shark. Your Sassa grant is paid into a Grindrod account. Grindrod also owns Moneyline lenders. They offer loans to Sassa grantholders at 68% per annum interest.
So Net 1 opens up another Grindrod account which is linked to your Sassa account. So if you have a loan with Moneyline, you actually have 2 Grindrod accounts. One for your grant and one for the loan transactions. Transaction fees and loan repayments are deducted from your loan account which grabs the money owed from your Sassa account. Your Sassa account only reflects the change. So if you want to see the transactions you need to pay for it. Net 1 pays itself R1.24 each time you look at your balance. Net 1 also receives R16,44 for each Sassa account. For 17 million grantholders, this amounts to R3.4 bn each year, just for nothing. They also sell your information to other sharks such as those that sell airtime and funeral policies. Many deductions take place for airtime that a Sassa grantholder did not even ask for. It is almost impossible to get a refund from money taken by the other loan sharks. Net 1 is also selling water meters so they want the government to privatise water too.
After getting the tender from government to distribute pensions, Net 1 partnered with a BEE company called Mosomo Investment Holdings, Born Free Investments and Mazwi Yako. The chair of Mosomo is Brian Mosehla, who received R83 million from Net 1 to be their partner. Mosehla is a partner of billionaire ANC leader Tokyo Sexwale. The majority shareholder of Grindrod is Remgro, whose chair is Johann Rupert. The biggest shareholding of Net 1 is Allan Gray, although the majority of shares are still owned by American banks and financial institutions.
For a few million Rand, the ANC government has handed over the poorest of the poor into the clutches of the super rich in SA and in America.
For years the government has been disrespecting our aged and children. The Cabinet Ministers are paid millions and get fat on BEE deals, yet our pensioners have to survive on R1650 per month. Each year the Members of parliament get big increases while our pensioners get 4 - 5% ‘ increases’. This is less than inflation, which means that each year, our pensioners can buy less and less. Enough is enough.
Now the big banks, Absa (All Pay services) are fighting Grindrod bank (Cash Paymaster Services, CPS) as to who gets the massive contract. The government has subcontracted the payment of grants to the banks. They are making huge profits. Currently CPS is paid R16.44 per Sassa card. This is besides the bank fees they get. This is over R3.4 Billion each year. These funds could easily have been used for social benefits, for housing, education or better health care or even have increased the grant.
The Social Development Minister, Bathabile Dlamini, has deliberately delayed the appointment of a new service provider. This created a crisis, considering that there was a Constitutional Court ruling in 2014 against the CPS contract being renewed beyond 31st March 2017. The 17 million pensioners and grantholders are being held hostage to the multi-billion Rand contract with Net 1/CPS. The bosses of CPS now even want to increase the amount they charge for the distribution of pensions.
The banks are making a profit out of a public service. The government is privatizing pensions. This is also why the government is wanting to change the law to abolish providend funds. This is to grab the pension savings of the working class so that we do not have access to this until the age of 65. This means that the banks will grab the savings of workers and use this for profits. Most workers die before 65. This means that workers will be robbed of their own savings by the banks and government. The government will spend less on pensions, cut the taxes on companies and use workers’ savings instead, for pensions in future.
All this is happening because the capitalist world is stagnating. More companies close. More workers are unemployed and the scope for profit is getting less. This means that more and more, the banks are engaging in parasitic activities like scamming pensioners through their card system. The government is acting like an agent for the loan sharks and banks. We say this profiteering from public services must stop. The entire Cabinet is responsible for the crisis of pension payment. They should all step down. If parliament cannot hold the Net 1/CPS and Cabinet to account, they should be disbanded.
We call for:
The government must end the contracts with private companies for the distribution of pensions; No to Net 1 and Allpay. The state must develop their own card system.
If the CPS system is extended while an internal alternative is developed, no service fee must be paid to them.
We call for demonstrations before school and during lunch time. We call for committees of action to be set up in every area, in every school (with students, parents and teachers) and in every workplace. Let us prepare the way with marches to government offices for pensions to be paid on time, in full, without queues on the 1st April 2017 and going forward; Consideration should be given to preparing the way for a general strike.
Not a single cent more for Net 1/CPS nor All Pay.
- Stop all the deductions, transaction fees and interest payments from Sassa cards to all the loan sharks. Hands off our pensions and grants.
- Pay back the money. All interest, transaction fees and other illegal deductions must immediately be paid back.
- Down with prepaid water and electricity meters
- A living pension and grant for all.
If grants and pensions cannot be guaranteed by parliament, it should disband and the way prepared for a new unfettered Constitutional Assembly, with constituency delegates subject to instant recall, and not paid more than the wage of an average skilled worker.
9th March 2017 amended 10th March 2017
Workers International Vanguard Party
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