27 January 2017

South Africa: Sassa Committed to Paying Grants On Time

Pretoria — Social grant beneficiaries will continue to be paid as usual and on time even beyond April 2017, says the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).

The agency has been inundated with concerns regarding what happens after the current social grant payment contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) expires at the end of March.

SASSA spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi said Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has set up a task team to look at how SASSA can take over the payment of social grants in-house.

"Social grant beneficiaries will continue to be paid as usual and on time even beyond April 2017, and there will be no disruptions to the system, given the sterling work of the task team," Letsatsi said.

He said consultations were held with various stakeholders in an effort to determine what the best model would be and a solution had to be found in order to minimise potential unintended consequences.

"That process took [unexpectedly long], given the competing business and other interests of interested parties. SASSA also has a responsibility to deliver quality service to beneficiaries without system hiccups and therefore, it had to follow a thorough process to determine the best solution.

"We are currently finalising consultations with the Reserve Bank and National Treasury. Given the nature of the essential service SASSA provides, there is a need for an efficient and tested solution as well as a matching, sizeable human and material investment," Letsatsi said.

He said SASSA will on 1 February present its plan to the Social Development Portfolio Committee on how social grants will be paid out as from April 2017. The presentation will clarify all perceived uncertainties that interested parties have expressed.

Letsatsi warned beneficiaries not to fall easy prey to false rumours from people who intented to rob them their right to social security.

"There is no need to panic from the side of beneficiaries. If beneficiaries are promised something too good to be true or if they are unsure of anything, they should contact SASSA on its official social media pages or call 0800 60 10 11 for more information.

"False reports misrepresenting SASSA have been spread in the traditional and social media requesting beneficiaries to change their cards and do all sorts of things in anticipation of the new grant payment system.

"SASSA will ensure that their grants are received unencumbered as required by the Social Assistance Act. This is because some beneficiaries currently experience unauthorised deductions from unscrupulous operators within the financial services sector and it is therefore important that these are eliminated," said Letsatsi.

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