Social grants transfer on track

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and the Post Office have entered into an agreement that will see social grant recipients smoothly transferred to the new payment system, the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) announced on Thursday.

Signed on 19 June, the agreement has seen the partnership between the two State agencies reach a level of stability, the IMC said in a statement read by Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane at a press briefing.

The legal agreement provides the framework on how SASSA and the Post Office will work together during the transitional period.

The IMC is led by the Minister of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. The IMC also includes the Ministers of Social Development, Susan Shabangu and Telecommunications and Postal Services Siyabonga Cwele.  

“We are happy to report that great progress has been made in implementing the [Constitutional] Court instruction,” Mokonyane said of the agreement signed by SASSA and SAPO.

Mokonyane, on behalf of the IMC, said key to this agreement is to ensure a smooth transition that will not disadvantage the beneficiaries in anyway.

“A number of electronic payments of social grants through SASSA, Postbank, commercial banks and merchants were effected from April with less disruptions,” the Minister said.

In June, a milestone was reached when 1.8 million beneficiaries were successfully migrated from the old Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) card to the new SAPO card issued by the Post Office.

The State agencies plan to migrate all cash beneficiaries to receive grants at pay-points by the end of August.

The IMC today remained confident that the SASSA/SAPO card swap would result in benefits for the recipients. The new gold card is deemed safer, as it does not allow for illegal deductions and transactions to occur. These transactions and deductions include electricity, airtime and loans.

“The only deduction that will be permitted on the new gold SASSA card will be for funeral policies on non-child grants, which should also not be more than 10% the total grant,” Mokonyane said.

Beneficiaries are urged to apply for the gold card, as the white ones will be phased out at the end of September.

The IMC said it is pleased with the progress made in addressing the technical challenges that affected several beneficiaries in the July payment cycle. Some electronic payment beneficiaries said they were able to only access a portion of their grants.

“We have received a full report from the SASSA and Post Office technical teams on the challenges they experienced. According to them, the system was unable to deal with the huge volumes of transactions they received as a result of the increased uptake of card swaps,” Mokonyane said.

The teams have been tasked with testing the resilience of the system at branches and retail outlets to avoid a repeat of the inconvenience. –