Watch SASSA has confirmed its March 2024 payment schedule video

The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has confirmed its March 2024 payment schedule. Image: File

Academics say March 2024 SASSA old-age pensions inadequate

Current SASSA old-age pensions are insufficient because the elderly support multiple people in a household, confirm researchers.

Watch SASSA has confirmed its March 2024 payment schedule video

The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has confirmed its March 2024 payment schedule. Image: File

Earlier this month, the EFF’s Julius Malema said SASSA old-age pensions must be doubled to R4 180 per month. He said this at his party’s launch manifesto event and, to his credit, he wasn’t wrong. The latest research from University of Cape Town (UCT) recommends that SASSA old-age pensions be increased immediately.

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Not just due to the high cost of food, transport and electricity but, most importantly, because SASSA old-age pensions support multiple members in households. And the beneficiary often has to go without critical care needs due to this added burden.


SASSA old-age pensions
National elections will hopefully see an increase for old-age pensioners who really need the money. Image: TechCentral

A recent study by the University of Cape Town (UCT), as referenced by GroundUp, interviewed nearly 100 families in rural South Africa. The overwhelming feedback is that the current SASSA old-age pensions of R2 080 per month are wildly insufficient.

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It’s understood that roughly 4 million SASSA old-age pensions are disbursed by the South African Social Security Agency every month. According to the latest research, the vast majority of beneficiaries live in households of five people or more, with an average household income of R6 850. That equates to just R1 370 per person.


SASSA old-age pensions
Most old-age pensions support multiple persons in a household. Image: File

SASSA old-age pensions are funding more than just the beneficiary in the household when it comes to food, clothing, electricity and transport. As Malema so succinctly put it this month, “When you give old people money, you are guaranteeing that that money is feeding the black child. Old people don’t gamble with it. They buy a bag of mielie meal, so our children are well fed. Imagine if you increase that amount to R4 180 per person a month.”

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However, the indignity of the situation is that the actual grant recipient often has to go without chronic medication and the additional healthcare they desperately need. According to the UCT research paper:

  • 24% of older persons have diabetes.
  • 68% live with hypertension.
  • 14% have arthritis.
  • Many live with sight, mobility and cognition difficulties, too.


SASSA old-age pensions
Transport and medicine costs often mean having less money for food each month for the elderly. Image: File

Furthermore, researchers calculate that a trip to a clinic costs roughly R82 in taxi fare. The physically disabled must spend roughly six-times that to get to a clinic. Adult incontinence products for the elderly cost R219 per week. Moreover, a lack of clean water and electricity puts massive additional burden on the elderly in rural areas.

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For many, the only way to make ends meet is to spend less on food. The majority will only spend half their income on sustenance. As a result, households become stuck in a debt cycle, borrowing money from loan sharks to cover monthly expenses. Then you factor in ever-increasing utility and electricity tariff hikes and it is clear SASSA old-age pensions are insufficient.


SASSA old-age pensions
A group of elderly people queuing outside Mthatha Post Office to collect their old age grant money in Mthatha, Eastern Cape. Image: Hoseya Jubase

According to the SA Government website, an application for a SASSA older persons grant cannot be affected online. You, or a loved one with signed permission, must report to a SASSA branch in-person. Follow the link HERE to find a branch nearest you in South Africa. And THESE are all the things you’ll need.

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The next payment dates for old-age grant recipients are as follows:

  • Tuesday 5 March 2024.
  • Wednesday 3 April 2024.
  • Friday 3 May 2024.
  • Monday 3 June 2024.
  • Tuesday 2 July 2024.
  • Friday 2 August 2024.
  • Tuesday 3 September 2024.

*SASSA reminds beneficiaries that old-age pension grants March 2024 may take 2-3 days to reflect in your bank account. Also note that dates from May 2024 are only extrapolations and still await official SASSA confirmation.

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Do you need help with SASSA old-age pensions? Be sure to share your thoughts with our audience in the comments section below. And don’t forget to follow us @TheSANews on X and The South African on Facebook for the latest updates.