SASSA cash points

Closure of SASSA cash points was an ‘error in judgment’ say traditional leaders. Image: File

Closing SASSA cash points was ‘error of judgment,’ say leaders

Following a phased approach from January to April, all SASSA cash points are now closed. But traditional leaders aren’t happy about it …

SASSA cash points

Closure of SASSA cash points was an ‘error in judgment’ say traditional leaders. Image: File

The South African Social Security Agency announced late last year that SASSA cash points would finally be closed in a phased approach to April 2024. Now that we’re into the second quarter of the year, all SASSA cash points are now officially closed. But not everyone – especially traditional healers – is happy about the change …


SASSA cash points
SASSA grants are disbursed each month to upwards of 4 million old-age pensioners. Image: File

According to the agency, SASSA cash points have been slowly phased out due to safety and complexity. It’s understood that out of the more than 28 million grant recipients, barely 120 000 still used SASSA cash points. Therefore, the agency chose to close them from April onwards.

Now, GroundUp reports that the Council of Traditional Leaders of South Africa is lobbying the government to reverse the decision, especially in rural areas. The issue is, says council president Mathupha Mokoena, that many old-age pensioners simply don’t know how to use banks.


SASSA cash points
People queue outside a SASSA branch office. Image: File

On the other side of the argument, SASSA says it’s too late to reverse the decision. The Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu and the office of the presidency were alerted to the fact that some old-age pensioners are not happy about the closures in rural communities.

The alternative is SASSA’s rollout of a national payment system that deposits grants directly into bank accounts. However, Mokoena from the council was approached by some 300 unhappy senior citizens who’d normally collect their SASSA money from the Mathibela tribal council in Mpumalanga.


SASSA cash points
Traditional leaders say they will mobilise forces to reverse the decision. Image: File

As a result, traditional leaders say they will mobilise forces to oppose the closure. It was an ‘error in judgment’ by the agency, says Mokoena. Transport to banks and ATMs in remote areas is difficult, for pensioners would need to collect their grants each month.

GroundUp reports that SASSA’s Paseka Letsatsi says it’s too late to challenge the decision now. “It would cost the government billions to reverse this decision. It would be illogical to revert to legacy systems that take us backwards. Also, reverting only to the last few people who were affected by closures would be unfair for the 99.6% of our clients who have already adapted over the last five years,” said Letsatsi.

NEXT READ: UPDATE: SASSA Older Persons grant for May 2024

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