MANY Greytown land claimants ordered to cash their land settlement payouts through the local Absa branch have failed to draw their money because the bank has run out of cash.
The Nhlalakahle community in Greytown had been involved in a protracted land claim with the Land Claims Commission. A township was developed on the land they claimed, so they were offered cash settlements instead.
Last month, the Land Claims Commission issued vouchers amounting to R43 506 per family to 467 community members. The vouchers were to be cashed at the local Absa branch, but many of the beneficiaries say they were repeatedly turned away.
One of the beneficiaries, Chris Mngomezulu, said many community members have raised concerns with him about Absa’s inability to honour their vouchers.
“We received the vouchers last month and we were told we could collect from October 21 to November 22.
“We were supposed to collect alphabetically and the people who have been there are now complaining because they have not received their money.”
Another claimant, who did not want to be named, said the situation is causing distrust between him and other claimants.
“I am not the only beneficiary of this voucher and the other beneficiaries are starting to be suspicious of me. The tellers there keep telling me to come back for the money a day later. I went there on Monday and I was told to come back today. I know when I get there I will be told there is no money.
“There are other claimants who come from far-flung places to collect their money, only to be told to come back another day.”
He said the beneficiaries are losing faith in the bank. “How can you even consider opening a bank account there? Once you need your money you will be told that there is no money.”
Pierre Loubser, managing executive responsible for the Absa branches and ATMs, said the cause of the cash shortage is that the land claims vouchers are abnormally large.
“The moment we became aware that we needed more cash to meet the demand, we ordered more cash to ensure we meet the customers’ needs.”
Loubser said the bank has never failed to honour regular withdrawals.