By Phaladi Seakgwe
The South African Social Security Agency concluded a two day consultative meeting with stakeholders held at Emperors Palace to find ways and means of serving beneficiaries of social grants better. These key partners included amongst others, the South African Post Office, Banking Association of South Africa, Reserve Bank, Black Sash, the security industry, grants beneficiaries, the South African Police Service and various banks as well as retailers. The meeting was held to discuss whether it would be better to use the payments staggering approach to pay beneficiaries in the platforms that they currently use to receive their money.
Speaking at the opening of the meeting, Thandi Sibanyoni Executive Manager for Corporate Services on behalf of the SASSA Executive management highlighted the importance of making it easier for beneficiaries of social grants to receive their money under dignifying conditions. “If it was not of beneficiaries, there would be no SASSA, so we need to constantly look at ways of ensuring that we relieve their anxieties and improve from the mistakes of the past when we service them. As SASSA we do not want beneficiaries to travel long distances to receive their money”, she emphasized. Sibanyoni further said that all the sectors present at the meeting form part of the payment value chain and their inputs will greatly assist SASSA to serve beneficiaries of social grants more efficiently going forward.
Since the beginning of October 2018, government is now fully responsible for the payment of social grants through the Post Office after the relationship with CPS came to an end. Beneficiaries of social grants have options available to them to choose how they want to receive their grants such as at the post office, various retailers and ATMs using the new gold SASSA card or through their own personal bank accounts.
SASSA is appealing to all beneficiaries not to wait until the last minute to change from the old white SASSA card to the new gold SASSA card as no money will be paid into the old card starting from January 2019. Those beneficiaries who are still using the old SASSA card should immediately visit their SASSA offices or post office to swap their cards before 14 December 2018 to avoid any disappointment.
All stakeholders who participated expressed their satisfaction with the outcomes of the meeting and felt that they now understand each other’s operations and areas well to come up with resolutions that will benefit grants recipients. The engagements will continue until the right solutions are found.