The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) says it is ready to roll out social grants in October.
It hasn’t been smooth sailing for Sassa over the last few months. A major Constitutional Court ruling threw a curve ball at the national welfare organisation by forcing it to abandon its previous administrative partners, Cash Paymaster Services (CPS).
The South African Post Office (SAPO) has been tasked with administering social grants to beneficiaries but the transition period has been anything smooth.
According to Sassa executives and Social Development Minister, Susan Shabangu, CPS has been unwilling to hand over the reins to SAPO. This disobedience has resulted in frustration for beneficiaries who have been left in the lurch due to operational failures which have marred the transition period.
Shabangu announced that a criminal charge had been laid against CPS, for what she terms ‘dishonest’ practices hampering the Constitutional Court ruling. The Social Development Minister said:
“They’re [CPS] trying to extend their scope in order not to go away. We are aware that we are going to find resistance, it’s a battle we will have to confront, with CPS trying to claw back.”
At the centre of this crossover contention is the renewing of payment cards. While Sassa, in conjunction with SAPO, is administering Gold Cards, CPS is still flogging the old Easy Pay Everywhere (EPE) cards. This has resulted in a major system’s malfunction, with funds being erroneously deducted from beneficiaries who have been duped.
Despite all these operational hiccups, Sassa says it is confident October’s payments will be made without a hitch.
Sass spokesperson, Paseka Letsatsi, issued a statement on Wednesday, which has been reported on by News24, stating:
“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.”
Commenting on the improvements regarding the new Sassa cards, Letsatsi said:
“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.”
As per the Constitutional Court judgement, all old Sassa cards will expire at the end of September.