Relief as beneficiaries receive social grants

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Soshanguve – Social grant beneficiary, Stephina Nkoatse, from Soshanguve breathed a sigh of relief, on Tuesday morning, after collecting her grant at Falala Community Hall Block, in Soshanguve Block F.

While counting her money, 45-year-old Nkoatse told SAnews that she was relieved and happy that her family would not starve, thanks to the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) for ensuing that beneficiaries received their monies on time.

She said when rumours that social grant beneficiaries would not get their monies this month started circulating, she started panicking as her grant is the only source of income supporting her family.

“I panicked because I’m not working due to poor health and the government grant helps me as I’m able to feed my children, buy them clothes and even pay electricity and water,” said Nkoatse, who receives a disability grant.

“I want to thank government and SASSA for keeping its promises because most of us were confused and didn’t know whether we were going to get our grant or not,” said an elated Nkoatse.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini visited the Falala Community Hall on Tuesday to monitor and ensure that the process of grant payments goes smoothly.

On her arrival, she was greeted by jubilant beneficiaries, who expressed their gratitude for the work she is doing for them.

Minister Dlamini also spent some time listening to the concerns raised by beneficiaries. She responded to some of the concerns and referred some of them to SASSA officials to assist them.

The Minister told SAnews that she started the visits to various pay point stations in provinces since Friday, where she met with recipients and interacted with SASSA officials including regional managers, reminding them of the things they needed to attend to.

“Since Friday, everything has been going on very well and our machinery has been well prepared for these processes and also the mood is very positive, considering the tension that was there.

“We’ve seen that South Africans are a good and listening nation because they’ve also given us an opportunity to explain some issues like the green card that doesn’t belong to SASSA and that we don’t have loans as government,” Minister Dlamini told SAnews.

She added that during her interactions with SASSA, they’ve also agreed that all pay point stations must have chairs, wheelchairs, identifiable volunteers, as well as water.

“What is important now, is for us to sit down and look at how we are going to take the process forward, account to the Constitutional Court and be led by the President. As from now, he [President] is leading the Committee on Comprehensive Social Security and this is taken as part of a bigger programme of government and it’s no longer taken as just a transaction programme,” the Minister explained.

SASSA’s Regional Executive Manager in Gauteng, Themba Matlou, said the process of payment went smoothly in all the pay point stations, adding that about 800 000 beneficiaries were paid in the province alone.

Help desks

Matlou said SASSA has established help line desks at pay points, where beneficiaries can register their disputes regarding unauthorised deductions appearing on their slips.

“The dispute can be electricity, water and loans that they didn’t know about. We then register them here and later investigate. It takes between 48 and 72 hours for the investigation to be concluded.

“What is more exciting is that we’ve now established commissioner of oaths in terms of affidavits and statements, so they no longer have to go to the police stations to get them. If, after the investigation we found that the deductions were illegal, we refund them on the next payment cycle,” said Matlou. –