File picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA)
File picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA)

Covid-19 safety measures: Sassa beneficiaries urged to use bank accounts instead

By Staff Writer Time of article published Mar 19, 2020

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Durban - Following a ban on gatherings of more than 100 by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday, Sassa has issued a number of changes that impact on how grantees will be able to collect their money. 

In a statement issued on Thursday, social grant beneficiaries were advised to access their monies via their bank accounts and not rush to paypoints on the first day of payment.  

This, Sassa said, would help to alleviate gatherings at shopping malls and other outlets which is considered a health risk as the country's confirmed coronavirus cases has reached 150.

"In terms of managing numbers at cash pay points, the organisation together with the South African Post Office will ensure that the number of clients being serviced at a time does not exceed the national set number of 100 people. This will also give staff the opportunity to interact with their clients and encourage them to consider other alternatives to access their money. Alternatives such as banks which are convenient," Sassa said. 

The same space at local offices will be given at cash paypoints. Priority would be given to the elderly, frail, people with disabilities, mothers with children as well as pregnant women. 

Sassa and SAPO staff at paypoints would constantly keep clients informed of the process and emphasise that what is being done is to ensure their safety is given preference. Hand sanitisers would also be provided especially to areas where water is limited.

Sassa has also announced that home, clinic and hospital visits by Sassa officials have been  suspended with immediate effect. 

"Where a client is above 75 years of age and is bedridden and unable to report to a Sassa office, an application process can be completed under section 15 and Regulation 10 (1) of Social Assistant Act, 2004 to have a procurator or proxy apply on behalf of the affected client. The chosen procurator must be appointed in writing and produce that letter together with all their documents including identity card so that the application can be processed. The application will follow normal process," Sassa said.

All integrated community registration outreach programmes have been suspended. 

Sassa announced that all local office managers will ensure that the allowed number per day rule is adhered to so that no more than 100 people are served at a time. The number will depend on the size of the waiting area. The number allowed in must make provision for a space between clients and adequate ventilation. 

In addition, both Sassa and SAPO have put up notices at entrances of their offices advising the public that access to the premises will be limited to less than 100 persons at any given point. 

"Clients are advised not to report to local offices for simple enquiries but to rather call SASSA and SAPO on their toll-free customer care numbers. Residents can also access information via the Sassa website and social media platforms."

All staff dealing directly with clients will be supplied with all the necessary protective kits to ensure that their health is safeguarded.

Sassa together with SAPO will work closely to implement measures to limit the number of public at post office outlets especially on the first few days of grant payments. The same requirements at local offices will apply to post office outlets. Hand sanitisers are available at all post office doors for clients to use before entering the premises.

Additional cash dispensers will be used to ensure that there is no overcrowding around one or two dispensers at cash paypoints and post offices. This will increase the speed of serving clients to ensure that they do not spend a long time at payment facilities. As government we are calling for a change of behaviour amongst all South Africans and urge everyone to practice personal hygiene.

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