Johannesburg - Black Sash has urged social grants recipients to use ATMs to withdraw their funds following the Banking Association of South Africa's (Basa) assurance that they will not be charged withdrawal fees.
The organisation's national advocacy manager Hoodah Abrahams-Fayker said they welcomed the news that commercial banks would lower their banking fees for social grant beneficiaries during the 21-day nationwide Covid-19 lockdown.
Basa said grant beneficiaries could now withdraw their money from any ATM without paying Saswitch charges or withdrawal fees.
“While Basa acknowledges that some beneficiaries have been levied bank fees for the current payment cycle, they have indicated these charges will be reversed. The Black Sash urges social grant recipients to keep their payment slips and bank statements for the period and to dispute any withdrawal and Saswitch fees.
“Requests for the reversal of fees can be made with their bank, at a Post Office branch, a Sassa pay point or a Sassa helpdesk."
Abrahams-Fayker said Black Sash strongly recommends that this new regime of lowered banking fees for social grant beneficiaries should become a permanent feature, saying that by making this social responsibility contribution to grant beneficiaries, the banking sector could ensure that the poor receive the full cash value of their social grants.
Earlier this week, Sassa announced that it had already paid out to more than 4 million social grant payments since Sassa brought the payment date forward and set aside 30-31 March 2020 as special days for older persons and persons with disabilities.
Sassa national spokesperson Kgomoco Diseko said billions were paid out and most were through various commercial banks.
“The large transactions took place despite minor glitches reported in some areas. These include long queues, overcrowding and failure to comply with social distancing and hygiene guidelines at some payment outlets." There were also reported cases of depletion of cash at some Post Office outlets due to higher than normal numbers of people, Diseko said.