net1 and social grants
The Black Sash and Erin Torkelson
TRANSFORMED GRANT PAYMENT FROM PRIVATE TO PUBLIC CONTROL UNDER THE POST OFFICE
With the Black Sash, I worked to open the "black box" of Net1's digital grant payment system. We found that Net1's technologies segregated South African grantees in an alternative banking system outside public oversight. Then, within this segregated system, Net1 aggressively marketed loans and other financial products to grantees. Because of our findings, we successfully advocated for changes to the way grants are paid, bringing them from private to public control under the South African Post Office.
My dissertation, Taken for Granted: Geographies of Debt and Welfare in South Africa formed the basis of my public scholarship
Check out my GroundUp news articles which highlighted the exploitation in the grant payment system
This research fed into lawsuits and meetings with the Constitutional Court-appointed Panel of Experts to redesign the grant payment system