The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) paid out over R3,3 billion to social grant beneficiaries on the first day of the payment cycle which started on Friday. This according to a statement issued by the Department of Social Development, which stated that Minister Bathabile Dlamini had confirmed the payment.
She is quoted to have said that over 6 million transactions by social grant beneficiaries were confirmed by Sassa on Monday morning. Dlamini, accompanied by acting Social Development MEC Phophi Ramathuba was monitoring pay points in the Burgersfort area on Monday. The agency confirmed that beneficiaries had already begun receiving what was due to them by Friday.
There were uncertainties that payouts would not be made on time after it emerged that the Department of Social Development could not seal a deal with a new service provider to take over from Cash Paymaster Services (CPS). The Constitutional Court extended CPS’s contract with the agency to 12 months to ensure that social grants beneficiaries get paid on time.
According to Sassa Limpopo spokesperson, Norman Kutama everything is back on track and beneficiaries in the province began receiving their payments on Friday. He said they had made a promise that citizens will receive their payments by 1 April and hence they are keeping the promise.
He further said, “We are monitoring all the pay points to ensure that everything goes accordingly. Ramathuba also went to Lebowakgomo Civic Centre on Monday to witness beneficiaries receiving their grants.”
Kutama added that payments were available electronically starting from Friday and grants were paid as promised at the usual pay points starting from Monday.
Social Development Spokesperson, Adele van der Linde emphasised that some glitches were experienced at ATMs over the weekend and social grants beneficiaries could not withdraw but at the same time assured that the matter had been resolved. Van der Linde said this was a national issue.
She further said Ramathuba and Dlamini’s visits were mainly to check on various pay points and make sure they are operational and residents received their money.
When asked if any robberies had been reported she said, “Luckily none of our cash-in-transit vehicles were robbed. We were also worried that criminals might target our vehicles but we were fortunate. The acting MEC is very happy with the payout process and believes that things will stay the same.”
According to Van der Linde 1 300 beneficiaries received their grants at Lebowakgomo Civic Centre during Ramathuba’s visit. She added that both the department and the agency would continue to monitor the pay outs to ensure that beneficiaries are able to put food on the table for their families.
Kutama said 2 499 554 social grants beneficiaries in the province were being served by 2008 pay points. Dlamini encouraged recipients to go to pay points on their respective days as indicated on the slips they received last month. She said teams of managers will also be deployed on site to provide assistance. She emphasised that normal business processes will continue and any form of lapsing or suspensions that may occur may not imply a failure to pay by Sassa. “We have found as we visited different merchants that we need to protect the intellectual property of Sassa as it is abused by many retailers.”
Story: ENDY SENYATSI