09 December 2018


SASSA pay points remain open to the public

by: Nthusang Lefafa   date: 08 june 2018

Social grant recipients can still visit any South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) pay point to collect their monthly social assistance.
A fake SMS urging grant recipients to re-register their social grants because all pay points would be closed by August 2018 has been doing the rounds recently and the Department of Social Development has reacted harshly against that. 
Social Development Minister, Susan Shabangu, has assured grant beneficiaries that no pay point in the country will be closed without the department ensuring that an alternative has been offered. 
While addressing the media in Tshwane on Monday, the minister said the department has not started closing any pay points.
“If that happens, it will be done in consultation with the various stakeholders,” Shabangu said.
The fake SMS reads as follows: “All Sassa recipients please you have to re-register yourself for Sassa payments. From 1st of June. There is will be no paypoints anymore. Each 1 has to apply by post office or a bank of your choice. So please collect application forms by office from the 1st of June to take to bank or post office your choice. If you do not re-register you will not get paid in August or thereafter. Please share with all state pensioners. Thank you”.
It is estimated that about 30% of the South African population receives social grants. The misleading SMS confused pensioners, mostly in rural areas. This led to Minister Shabangu meeting with the National House of Traditional Leaders on developments surrounding the payment of social grants.
She explained: “We have a policy that states that our beneficiaries must have access to their pay points within a five-kilometre radius so it would be impossible to close any pay points without recognising that as a critical point. Beneficiaries must be able to access their money very close to their place of residence”. 
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Dr Zweli Mkhize, said it is important to engage traditional leaders on grant payments so that those who live in rural areas are able to access this important information.

“In some provinces, such as the Eastern Cape and Limpopo, it’s about 42%. The challenge is that the bulk of those are in rural areas under traditional leadership and therefore there needs to be a seamless flow of information on how the grants are administered and the partnerships that need to develop,” said Mkhize.

Meanwhile, a new South African Post Office (SAPO) card has been introduced to work alongside a SASSA card and will eventually replace it and be used for payment and withdrawal of social grants. It has already been used for this purpose since last month (May 2018).
The SAPO card was distributed nationwide from 17 April to all beneficiaries of social grants receiving cash payments at pay points and merchants (e.g. Shoprite, Boxer Supermarket, etc.)
SASSA will also visit provinces, local municipalities and districts to discuss any challenges that beneficiaries might experience as the entity transitions from Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) to the Post Office.
“This month, we will be going out, making sure that we meet the Constitutional Court requirements and that there is no confusion amongst our people. We are working with traditional leaders to make sure that where there is confusion, they work with us to clarify matters,” Shabangu said.

It is expected that SASSA, in collaboration with SAPO, will distribute the new cards to an estimated nine million beneficiaries. Approximately 2.5 million of these beneficiaries receive their social grants at pay points around the country.
Provincial Acting Regional Executive Manager at SASSA in Bokone Bophirima, Fannie Sethokga, told Semphete that the number of people collecting their social grants at pay points is gradually declining.
“We have noticed that more people are collecting their money through electronic means such as ATMs and at various stores. Some people are not necessarily coming to pay points to collect their money, but to socialise or purchase some necessities such as food stuffs,” Sethokga said. 
He explained that SASSA could process up to 1000 payments per day at one specific pay point. This is done to avoid congestion and tragedies such as stampedes, which can lead to loss of life.