Sassa says it is ready for October social grants payment cycle

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) says it is ready for October when it will make all social grants payments to beneficiaries by itself, in partnership with the South African Post Office (SAPO).

Sassa says this in light of a Constitutional Court decision to dismiss its application for an order declaring that the actions of its previous grant distributor Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) amounted to contempt of court.

The agency took this stand after community members reported CPS and other Net1 company employees for disruptive behaviour at its paypoints.

CPS - which is a Net1 subsidiary - is currently responsible for paying less than 10% of beneficiaries this month and its contract ends at the end of September 2018. 

"In phasing out CPS at the end of the month, Sassa will be in full compliance with directions of the Constitutional Court and there will be no need to ask for another extension contrary to what sceptics wrongfully predicted," spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi said in a statement on Wednesday. 

Letsatsi added that, with 18 days to go before the September payment cycle concluded, Sassa has already paid more than R6bn to 92% of its beneficiaries in this month.

He said this was a "clear sign that government will manage to insource the service of grant payments from October going forward. 

"Transactions have largely taken place at merchants through Point of Sale (POS) devices and over the counter at post office outlets," he said.

He added that withdrawals from bank ATMs had also reduced significantly during the month of September compared to August.

"At the moment, the bulk of outstanding payments are the ones done in cash at Sassa paypoints, which will be finished in record time," Letsatsi said.

He said beneficiaries should ensure that they acquire the new Sassa card by the end of September because the old one will expire.

"The new Sassa card is an improvement of the old card and it does not allow deductions for things such as airtime, loans or prepaid electricity, among others.

"The new card also allows three free cash withdrawals at points of sale, one free withdrawal at the post office per month, free swipes at points of sale and [is] accepted by all ATMs displaying the VISA sign," Letsatsi said.