Fraud leaves pensioners penniless
A GROUP of Mpumalanga pensioners have fallen prey to fraud that saw some leave a pay point station empty-handed and devastated.
The pensioners were shocked when they arrived at a pay point in Chweni, Kabokweni on Monday only to be told that they had insufficient funds.
Sibonangayo Mkhabele's slip shows her available balance as R3.56.
"The official helping me told me that the system showed that the money was withdrawn at a Nedbank ATM.
"I do not understand. I do not bank at Nedbank. As a matter of fact, I do not even have a bank account," she said, holding back tears.
The slip given to Mkhabele, 65, shows that R1,170 was withdrawn on May 3.
"This is giving me sleepless nights. I was expecting to get my money, but returned home with a slip that shows that I have only R3.56 to my name.
"How am I going to pay for the 'society' (self-help scheme)? I do not have any children hence I joined the 'society' so that when I die I will have a decent burial. I don't know what I'm going to do," Mkhabele said.
Another victim, Lina Mavundhla, 73, was supposed to have received her pension money and child grants for her two young grandchildren.
"I received only R70 instead of R1,760. How am I going to survive? I do not even have mealie meal in my house," Mavundhla said.
And like Mkhabele, Mavundhla does not have a bank account.
The slip given to her showed that her money was withdrawn at an Absa ATM in Midway, Middelburg, more than 100km from her home.
After having received the R70, Mavundhla only had R6.38 to her name.
"I will be forced to borrow money so that I can pay for the society. I do not want to be in arrears," she said.
Lomeni Mdluli, 74, was also supposed to receive R1760 for her pension and grandchildren, but got only R740.
Her slip shows that R1,000 was withdrawn in Kanyamazane on May 3.
The elders, who are all first-time victims, have pleaded with authorities to fix the problem so that they receive the monies due to them.
Department of Social Development spokesman Thapelo Sakoana said: "Due to the seriousness of the matter, we will have to investigate.
"We will check with the service provider and establish what happened to the money.
"But what I can say is that no deductions can be made from Sassa (South African Social Services Authority)."
He said the department prioritised fighting fraud.