Sassa allays grant fears in light of ‘contract termination’
Johannesburg - The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) has assured social grants recipients that they will receive their grants on time despite media reports claiming that the SA Post Office is considering terminating its contract with the agency.
The concern about the alleged imminent failure to pay social grants followed a report on Sunday that the Post Office was operating at a loss since it secured the Sassa contract to distribute social grants.
According to the report, the Post Office was losing about R60million a month to pay security companies which are guarding and delivering cash to various pay points.
City Press reported that the Post Office’s chief information officer, Refilwe Kekana, wrote an internal memorandum to newly-elected board members stating: “The Post Office finds itself in a financial and operational situation that requires an urgent and focused turnaround strategy that must be implemented by April 1, 2020. The Sassa project won by the Post Office has proven to be a loss-making initiative”
Post Office spokesperson Bongani Diako confirmed the contents of the memorandum, but said it was an internal matter.
On Sunday, Sassa national spokesperson Kgomoco Diseko allayed fears of non-payment of grants.
“It’s not true that the Post Office pays grant beneficiaries. Direct transfers are made by Sassa into grant beneficiary accounts monthly, and that hasn’t changed. Only 200000 beneficiaries out of over 11 million receive their grants in cash at pay points.”
“Social grant beneficiaries can rest assured that they will be paid as usual every month Payments are guaranteed as per the South African Constitution and Sassa will stop at nothing to honour its constitutional obligations,” Diseko added.
Sassa’s response came after DA MP Bridget Masango vowed that she would write to the chairperson of Parliament’s portfolio committee on social development requesting that the committee urgently ask Minister Lindiwe Zulu to look into the situation.
“Many social grant recipients in rural areas have no means of accessing their grants other than through the cash distribution points,” Masango said.
“If the Post Office plans on closing some of these points, vulnerable grant recipients could be left in the lurch.”
She said Sassa, the Post Office and Zulu should come clean if social grants were at risk.