Over 5m social grants paid in September

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The South African Post Office (SAPO) has successfully paid more than five million South African Social Security social grant recipients in September, as more than six million beneficiaries convert to the new SASSA cards.

SAPO Chief Operating Officer and executive responsible for the daily implementation of the entity’s social grant payments, Lindiwe Kwele, said that SAPO is confident regarding its smooth takeover of the SASSA social grant payments on 30 September, when the contract for Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) expires.

Kwele said that SAPO’s payments of SASSA social grant recipients for the September is running 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,” Kwele said.

According to SAPO, 76% of the August grant payments were finalised in the first week of September, which ended on 7 September 2018, and over one million of these transactions 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 which was concluded in December 2017.

“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 SAPO’s readiness to take over the payments completely, and marks a delightful endorsement of the benefits of leveraging state capacity through collaboration.

“What is more pleasing about the partnership between SAPO and SASSA, is the direct benefits the millions of social grant beneficiaries derive from the initiative, as they are now free from practices such as unwanted deductions,” Kwele said.

She added that payments data for the August month-end is very reassuring in terms of social grant recipients’ 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 6.2 million Automated Teller Machine (ATM) transactions were carried out during September, while merchant purchases and withdrawals transactions totalled 4.2 million.

“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,” she said.

SAPO is presently in its final week of cash payments to just over 300 000 social grant recipients in 1 213 payment points that are situated in areas that do not have post offices within reach, or any national payment infrastructure points.

“SASSA has not rationalized cash payment points affecting these social grant 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 grant 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,” Kwele explained.

Large number migrating to new SASSA card

Meanwhile, SAPO’s data trends demonstrate that a large number of social grant recipients are migrating to the new SASSA gold card every day.

To date, SAPO and SASSA have successfully card-swapped over 6.4 million people to the new gold SASSA cards.

Social grant beneficiaries that still have not changed to the new SASSA cards can do so at a the dedicated card swap venues throughout the country, 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, including the banks, can also swap to the new gold SASSA card.

SAPO said that it has, together with SASSA ensured that the new payment regime has safeguards that accord the state measures of protecting social grant beneficiaries from previous abusive financial practices.

SASSA and SAPO have full access to the beneficiary data, full access and ownership of biometric data and own the VISA Scheme certification for all the cards issued.

They also have full control of the transactional data, as well as full ownership of the SASSA BIN (Bank Identification Number), and no other product is using the same BIN. – SAnews.gov.za