30 January 2014

South Africa: Voice Activation System for Social Grant Beneficiaries

Mbombela — Social grant beneficiaries, who use PIN codes to access their social grants at ATM machines or till points, will have to verify each month that they are still alive.

They will be asked to record their voices as part of a voice activation system and then phone in once a month so that their voices can be verified, thereby proving they are still alive.

"If you are using a pin number at an ATM machine or store without fingerprint readers, a 'proof of life certification' must be completed once every month before a social grant can be accessed via a pin," said regional spokesperson for the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) in Mpumalanga, Senzeni Ngubeni.

He said beneficiaries will simply dial a phone number that is sent to them via SMS.

Ngubeni said the voice activation process will be done two phases.

The first phase will target 378 815 beneficiaries in Mpumalanga who were each sent an SMS in January 2014.

"At this stage, only those who received the SMSes are invited to call the number provided.

"Phase 2 starts in March, and involves all other beneficiaries who were not sent an SMS in January, but are using a PIN to access their grants," he said.

The numbers to call for voice activation are: 0860 690 717 if one uses a Telkom line, cell phone or a public phone.

"If one uses a starter pack issued during grant re-registration, they can call 082 1277 for free.

"These free starter packs can still be obtained from SASSA offices," said Ngubeni.

The following steps should be taken when making a call:

- Follow the voice prompt instructions so that your voice can be matched to your voice recording which was taken during Sassa re-registrations last year. You can choose to do the verification in several languages.

- Once your voice print has been validated, the system will inform you that you have been successfully verified and your social grant becomes available immediately.

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