File picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – Social grant beneficiaries in rural and peri-urban areas are increasingly struggling to access their social grants due to inadequate provision of services, while many of the elderly suffered from the physical and financial burdens of the new SA Post Office (Sapo) system.

This is according to human rights organisation Black Sash, which partnered with the department of political studies at UWC to conduct a series of case studies in the province about challenges faced by the elderly who try to collect their social grants.

SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) ended its contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) in 2017, and signed a new contract with Sapo to take over the system at the end of last year. 

Since then, most of the 8086 pay points commissioned for social grant collection have closed.

Sassa beneficiaries must now visit ATMs, retailers, the post office or one of the few remaining pay points to collect their social grants.

Researchers collected data from 45 respondents with an average age of 66 through interviews, focus groups, and observation over three-day intervals.

They found that in rural areas there was not always access to a Sapo branch, a retailer or the national payment system infrastructure, including ATMs, which negatively affected the elderly. 

Cape Times