19 September 2018

South Africa: Post Office On Payment of Social Grants Recipients in September

press release

Post Office successfully pays more the 5 million SASSA social grants recipients in September, as more than 6 million beneficiaries convert to new SASSA cards

The SA Post Office (SAPO) is confident regarding its smooth takeover of the SASSA social grants payments on 30 September when the CPS contract expires. SAPO's payments of SASSA social grants recipients for the September month payments run went smoothly with very few notable incidents.

To date, SAPO has paid over 97% of the 5.4 Million social grant recipients whose grants were transferred into the new SASSA card. Payment is still ongoing at SASSA cash pay-points in line with the payment schedules.

According to SAPO, 76% of the August grants payments were finalised in the first week of September (that ended on Friday, 7 September) and over 1m of these transaction were carried out over the counter inside a post office. The August payment run is SAPO's third since its ground breaking state-led agreement with SASSA was concluded in December 2017.

Lindiwe Kwele, SAPO COO and executive responsible for the daily implementation of the entity's social grants payments says: "We are pleased with how smoothly the August month-end payments run went because it was our biggest since we started making social grant payments incrementally from July 2018. This signals SAPOs readiness to take over the payments completely and marks a delightful endorsement of the benefits of leveraging state capacity through collaboration."

According to Ms Kwele, "What is more pleasing about the partnership between SAPO and SASSA is the direct benefits the millions of social grants beneficiaries derive from the initiative, as they are now freed from practices such as unwanted deductions."

SAPO says that payments data for the August month-end is very reassuring in terms of social grants recipient's adjustment to the modes of the new payments regime, especially in relation to available channels for accessing their grants money.

The data demonstrates that to date, a total of 6.2m ATM transactions were carried out during September while merchant purchases and withdrawals transactions totalled 4,2m.

"The almost-equal split between ATM and POS transactions, coupled with the in-branch transaction volumes, signals grant recipients' exploration of all the available channels and this behaviour is earlier than expected. It really boosts our confidence for the smooth takeover of the payments, considering the increasing volumes of people switching to the new SASSA cards," says Ms Kwele.

SAPO is presently in its final week of cash payments to just over 300 000 social grants recipients in 1213 payment points that are situated in areas that do not have a post office within reach, or any national payment infrastructure points. SASSA has not rationalized cash payment points affecting these social grants recipients, many of which are situated in outlying rural areas following its cancellation of the cash payments tender in favour of the Post Office also providing these services. Over 200 000 of these social grants recipients have already been successfully paid via SAPO's mobile units with the remainder due to be paid in the next week in line with SASSA's payment schedule.

Meanwhile, SAPO says that its data trends demonstrate that social grants recipients are migrating to the new SASSA gold card in large numbers every day. To date, SAPO and SASSA have successfully card-swapped over 6,4m people to the new gold SASSA cards. Social grants beneficiaries that still have not changed to the new SASSA cards can do so at a the dedicated card swap venues throughout the country, a SASSA office or the Post Office before the SASSA contract with CPS expires at the end of September. People that took on cards from other institutions such as the banks can also swap to the new gold SASSA card.

SAPO says that it has, together with SASSA, ensured that the new payment regime has safeguards that accord the state measures of protecting social grants beneficiaries from previous abusive financial practices. The following aspects of the present payments solution are already in the control of the state, via SASSA and SAPO, which was not the case with the previous service provider:

SASSA and SAPO have full access to the beneficiary data.

SASSA and SAPO have full access and ownership of biometric data.

SAPO and SASSA own the VISA Scheme certification for all the cards issued.

SASSA and SAPO have full control of the transactional data.

SASSA and SAPO have full ownership of the SASSA BIN. No other product is using the same BIN.

Issued by: Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services

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