Johannesburg - The South African Post Office (Sapo) on Wednesday assured social grant beneficiaries that the strike involving some South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) employees does not have an impact on the grant payments for October, which was currently underway.
Sapo said their outlets nationally were making payments and operating normally. Social grant recipients should go to the grant payments sites in their areas in accordance with the dates in the payment schedules.
"The Sapo will continue to pay social grants recipients according to schedule despite the reports of some Sassa employees going on strike. The Post Office’s social grant payment systems operate independently from those of Sassa once the payments files have been transferred to the Post Office, as is presently the case. In addition, the payments are done by Sapo employees, who are not affected by the strike," Sapo spokesperson Bongani Diako said.
Diako said they have already completed paying 86 percent of the 6.7 million social grants recipients that were on its October payment file.
These beneficiaries opted to migrate to the new gold Sassa card which safeguards them from unauthorised deductions and allows them access to their full social grants disbursements free of service charges when they use the Post Office and listed partners. Social grants recipients who opt to receive their grants outside of this loop run the risk of attracting exorbitant service charges.
"Recipients of social grants who use the new gold Sassa card are advised not to allow their payments to be processed by third parties not listed by the Sapo, as they may then be charged unreasonable service fees. Make sure that it is the Post Office paying you, or go directly or a listed retailer and you will get your social grant money in full," Diako said.
Meanwhile, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) was protesting the overall processing of social grants disbursements, arguing that the migration of the payment system from Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) to the South African Post Office was done unilaterally by the department.
Nehawu said its officials were set to meet social development minister Susan Shabangu over its grievances. It says the new system has introduced a raft of challenges which do not form part of the job description for administrative workers and for which they were neither trained nor compensated. The union says this migration has also opened the system up to easy manipulation, fraud and corruption.
African News Agency (ANA)