An 'Inconvenient' Chaos Might Await Social Grant Beneficiaries

SASSA says it has made direct payments to more than 2.3 million beneficiaries for the month of March 2018

SASSA says it has made direct payments to more than 2.3 million beneficiaries for the month of March 2018

South Coasters who collect their grants from pay points are anxious that their South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) cards will expire at the end of March.

The Constitutional Court heard on Tuesday that Sassa did not have alternative plans if the court refused to extend the CPS contract by another six months.

The agency argued that about2.8-million beneficiaries would not get their grant payments if the contract with CPS, which expires on March 31, was not extended.

"Sassa is in the process of appointing a cash payments service provider who will distribute grants using the new Sassa-Sapo card at all pay point across the country", Bhengu said.

It is only the 2.8-million rural beneficiaries that require CPS's help, Sassa reportedly said.

"It is very sad.it is like we are being laughed at by Sassa and CPS.

We assure South Africans that social grants will be paid on 01 April 2018", Bengu said.

Sassa has now asked for a further extension of six months as Sapo would be unable to take over cash payment services of the 2.8 million beneficiaries.

They have also implemented pilot projects since January, 2018, whereby direct payments to beneficiaries have been made via commercial banks.

These pay points will not be operational, should CPS not be allowed to continue, so these beneficiaries will need PINs so that they can withdraw their money elsewhere.

Sassa had, she said, already taken over direct funeral policy deductions (the only legal deductions in terms of the Social Assistance Act) from 727,000 beneficiaries and which was previously managed by CPS.

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SAPO, said Barnes, would be ready to open accounts for Sassa beneficiaries from 3 April.

The offering would also include three free cash withdrawals, a free balance enquiry and mini-statement per month, a first free replacement card, and full free three-month statement.

If the Constitutional Court denies Sassa's plea for an extension on the unlawful CPS contract for the distribution of social grants, everyone will receive their social grants, but the process will be "inconvenient".

In the past, SASSA relied on the services of CPS to pay 10.7 million beneficiaries through cash payments, direct deposits and electronic payments.

Furthermore, SASSA is now engaging 27 accredited cooperative financial institutions that may be used in the future to pay social grants.

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) has assured the public that social grants will be paid come 1 April and that there's a contingency plan in place if the Constitutional Court doesn't rule in its favour.

The agency was also in talks, through National Treasury and SARB, with commercial banks for the creation of low-priced accounts for social grant recipients.

Beneficiaries using the old Sassa card may continue to do so until September 30.

"The occasion was also used to encourage beneficiaries of social grants to choose a payment option that is convenient for them to receive their grants".

"We will soon introduce the new Sassa cards via the Post Office and beneficiaries will be informed about the process to be followed", Barnes said. The new card will be introduced over a period from April to 30 September 2018, when it is expected that the current Sassa card will no longer be in circulation.

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