The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) in the Western Cape has confirmed that 18 000 of its beneficiaries experienced delays in their payment.
This comes after the province’s Social Development Department (WCDSD) received numerous complaints during the festive season that funds were not available in beneficiaries’ accounts.
Provincial DSD MEC Sharna Fernandez said that during the festive season their office was inundated with complaints from Sassa grant beneficiaries for various reasons.
These included some or all of the money not being available from the Older Persons Grant when withdrawing at a retailer, and recourse was impossible with no results.
“Applications for the Old Age Grant are an arduous process with no feedback given from Sassa.
“Beneficiaries receive little to no communication when trying to update Social Relief of Distress grant applications.”
She said beneficiaries complained about delays in transferring grant payouts from retailers or the Post Office to their bank accounts.
“In one case, a woman told us she changed her details in September 2023, yet she only received her grant payment in January 2024,” said Fernandez.
Fernandez further stated that she was deeply distressed by reports of 150 000 Sassa grant beneficiaries who did not receive their payouts for January.
In a statement, Sassa said: “This was due to incorrect banking details provided when beneficiaries were applying for grants or changing their methods of payment.”
Sassa has requested affected beneficiaries to call its call centre (0800 60 10 11) or visit their nearest Sassa offices.
“My concern is that this information has not been widely communicated with the public, and more importantly, with the beneficiaries for whom grants are so crucial to their survival.
“We have asked Sassa how, or if, the statement – which was apparently issued on January 10, 2024, although it is nowhere to be seen on Sassa’s website or social media pages – was conveyed to the public,” Fernandez said.
Shivani Wahab, Sassa’s spokesperson in the province, said: “Sassa in the Western Cape can confirm that a total of 18 000 clients were negatively impacted.
“The issue with the verification process has been resolved, and clients have been paid for January 2024,” Wahab said.
Responding to WCDSD questions, Sassa said some of the old age beneficiaries were already reinstated for payment in January 2024.
“The Child Support Grant beneficiaries will be reinstated for payment in February 2024. A national media statement was issued to all stakeholders and the public via appropriate platforms.”