Eighteen thousand South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) social grant recipients in the Western Cape were affected by late payment issues this month.
This as more than 150 000 recipients across the country did not receive their grants for January, with the social grant agency blaming people for submitting incorrect personal information.
The agency undertakes a verification process of banking details, names, addresses and ID numbers every month to prevent fraud.
National Sassa spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi said they were inundated with calls from beneficiaries who did not receive their grant payments.
“Sassa urges recipients to provide correct banking details when they apply for their social grants for the first time or when they amend their personal details. Providing Sassa with incorrect banking details may delay the availability of the money into the beneficiary bank account.
“It must be mentioned that bank verification is conducted every month with the different banks as part of industry practice. Should details provided to Sassa differ from the details being verified during account number verification, payment delay will occur,” said Letsatsi.
He said where beneficiary payment cannot be completed due to incorrect banking details failing the account number verification process, the beneficiary has an option to apply for social relief of distress at any Sassa office which by law shall be recovered from the grand value once the account details have been resolved.
Sassa spokesperson in the Western Cape, Shivani Wahab, said the payment issue has been addressed in the province with no outstanding payments.
“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,” she said.
ActionSA national spokesperson, Lerato Ngobeni, said they were not surprised at the latest payment issues, as this was not the first time that the agency had failed to pay grants. However, Ngobeni added that this came when the disbursements were mostly needed to prepare for the commencement of the work and school year.
DA MP Bridget Masango said it was time for the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to urgently intervene. The party lodged a formal complaint last year following a number of payment failures to social grant recipients.
“These perpetual payment failures erode South Africa’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens’ constitutional rights to human dignity, life, healthcare, food, and social security,” she said.