Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency/ANA
Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency/ANA

Banks lower charges for social grant recipients amid Covid-19 pandemic lockdown

By Botho Molosankwe Time of article published Mar 30, 2020

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Johannesburg - Social grant recipients will be benefiting from an increase in the number of paypoints available to them and banks "significantly" reducing their charges.

This will have a positive affect on  social distancing measures  for the duration of the  Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, helping to reduce qu eues at bank branches and retailers.

According to the Banking Association South Africa (BASA), they provide accounts for 11.3 million social grant   beneficiaries and have close to 400 000 points of  service. 

"This means Sassa beneficiaries will have more options for collecting their grants, including  using ATMs at reduced costs. 

"For grant payments for the lockdown period ending 16 April, 2020,  Postbank and Sassa cards can be used at any ATM to withdraw Sassa grants with no  Saswitch charges.  Withdrawal fees at bank ATMs will be waived for Sassa beneficiaries."

BASA also said for March grant payments, some social grant beneficiaries may still be charged fees because banks  can't implement these technical changes at such short notice.

"Where fees are charged, they will be  refunded by the Sassa beneficiaries’ bank as soon as possible.  BASA members are assisting Sassa in communicating payment dates to beneficiaries. 

"BASA  members are also working closely with retailers and other stakeholders as part of their ongoing  efforts to assist Sassa beneficiaries during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown."

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula also announced he would relax public transport rules to accommodate grant recipients, so they  should have an easier time going to collect their money.

To help contain the virus, Mbalula had five days ago announced that public transport would not be operating and there would be special arrangements for public transport in terms of taxis.

"We are looking at allocating time for taxis in the morning and afternoon. During the day, it is a lockdown. Trains we are looking at none at all. 

"Long-distance trains will not be operating. We are looking at intensifying the lockdown in terms of aviation," he had said at the time.

However, on Sunday afternoon, Mbalula stated that as of  Monday until Friday, April 3 buses and taxis would be permitted to operate from 5am until 8pm in order to cater to the transportation needs of society’s most vulnerable.

The Star

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