By Phaladi Seakgwe
The South African Social Security Agency continues with its efforts to educate current and potential beneficiaries of social grants about the payment method options available to them to receive their grants including through banks where they may hold private accounts.
The constitutional court in 2017 ordered SASSA to advice beneficiaries about the benefits of receiving their grants through banks. SASSA subsequently embarked on a countrywide drive immediately in 2017 following the court order and issued an instruction to all its offices to emphasize to new applicants and beneficiaries the different methods available to them.
This continuous crusade is meant to ensure that beneficiaries know and understand how each option of payment works as well as benefits and implications of choosing such option.
The campaign was further reignited on 01 February when SASSA officials led by their executives went to pay points to directly speak to beneficiaries and distributed a simple step by step guide educational brochure and forms that allow them to switch their methods of payment to banks of their choice including the post office.
It is common cause that SASSA has now entered into an agreement with the South African Post Office for the payment of grants. Beneficiaries are also reminded that the lifespan of the SASSA card has been extended to 31 December 2018.
01 February 2018 | Media release
SASSA has successfully paid over 2 million beneficiaries who receive their grants from commercial banks. This was done today through our Paymaster General account which was opened recently. This move is a giant step taken towards SASSA ultimately paying all beneficiaries using any type of electronic payment method. It is part of fully complying with orders of the Constitutional Court and phasing out CPS, the current service provider.
As from the 1st of March 2018, SASSA will also do direct transfers to about 5.7 million beneficiaries who use the SASSA card. This will bring about 80% of payment transactions under the control of SASSA by the end of March 2018.
By April, the only beneficiaries whose payments won't be falling under SASSA’s direct control will be the ones paid in cash at SASSA paypoints. SASSA has already gone to the market for the cash payment category by way of advertising a tender. This represents just under 3 million beneficiaries.
Till recently, the legislated life insurance premium deductions of 700 000 beneficiary accounts were deducted through a third party contractor. SASSA in in the process of completing the take-over of this responsibility from CPS, who was managing these on SASSA’s behalf.
SASSA is currently negotiating with the banking industry in order to develop a low cost banking account which will be subsidized by SASSA so that beneficiaries get the full value of their grants without paying bank charges. Such an account will not allow electronic debits and is intended to protect beneficiaries from unauthorised debits which have been a problem in the past.
The current SASSA card is still valid and will only expire at the end of the year; by which time the new SASSA/SAPO card shall have been introduced. SASSA has gone on a countrywide awareness campaign to inform beneficiaries with these developments and to eliminate fake messages which tell beneficiaries to switch to some questionable new cards. The public is reminded to contact 0800601011 in case they need more clarity.
Issued on behalf of SASSA
Enquiries: Paseka Letsatsi (National Spokesperson)
SASSA Acting CEO Pearl Bengu has expressed concern following an armed robbery at a pay point in Seplan near Cala in the Eastern Cape where beneficiaries of social grants were paid on Tuesday.
This incident came three days after an apparently different gang plundered cash about to be placed in an ATM in Cacadu (Lady Frere) that dispenses social grants money.
Six heavily armed men accosted the security guards who were loading the ATM at the pay point and constrained them so that they could take the money and cellphones. They were also stripped of semi-automatic rifles and pistol.
“We are comforted that no beneficiary was harmed during the robbery and everyone at the pay point was safe. However, we view such actions by criminals as hazardous to our beneficiaries and appeal to law enforcement agencies to act swiftly to arrest the criminals. The payment process resumed without delay as CPS managed to replace the cash that was stolen by the robbers on time to ensure that no beneficiary left the pay point without receiving their grants due to the robbery”, said Pearl Bengu.
Bengu further said that SASSA takes the safety and wellbeing of all beneficiaries as a priority at pay points and will work closely with the payment contractor to ensure that security details around these facilities are amplified so that beneficiaries are paid in secure environments at all times.
Issued on behalf of SASSA
Enquiries Contact Customer Care - 012 400 2322