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Post Office to take over NC grants

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Sassa would continuously inform beneficiaries about the dates, times and venues where the exchange of cards would happen.

File picture: Independent Media

GrantS recipients in Kimberley and the Northern Cape will be paid directly by the South African Post Office from April 1.

The SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) in Kimberley confirmed yesterday that the SA Post Office (Sapo) would be the official social partner of Sassa for the payment of social grants.

Grants recipients were reassured that there would be no interruptions to the current payment schedule and beneficiaries would receive their grants where they normally do.

“Beneficiaries are also reminded that their current Sassa card will continue to work until Sassa replaces it with the new Sassa Sapo payment card,” Sassa Northern Cape spokesperson, Inno Khunou, said.

She added that Sassa would continuously inform beneficiaries about the dates, times and venues where the exchange of cards would happen.

“The new Sassa Sapo payment card will give beneficiaries a chance to choose from three methods of payment namely: cash payments at pay points/post offices; direct payments into the beneficiaries’ bank accounts or Postbank; or payments through merchants (Pick * Pay, Shoprite, Spar, Boxer and others).”

Khunou pointed out that the SA Post Office was convenient and had no bank charges.

Sassa CEO Pearl Bhengu said at a press conference yesterday that 5.7 million social grants beneficiaries would be paid directly from April 1, without the help of Cash Paymaster Services (CPS).

Bhengu pointed out to journalists that the agency had implemented a pilot project in January through direct payments into commercial bank accounts “and that has gone well so far”.

The CEO was speaking at a joint press briefing with the SA Post Office where the organisation’s state of readiness to distribute social grants from April 1 was outlined.

Grants beneficiaries will be required to open Postbank accounts and their grants will be paid directly by Sassa into their accounts.

Sapo said yesterday that it was ready to open accounts for Sassa beneficiaries.

“The testing of the bulk account opening process with a sample of 1 000 existing Sassa beneficiaries’ data was seamlessly concluded in February 2018,” Bhengu said yesterday.

The special disbursement account has the following features: no deductions; three free cash withdrawals; one free balance enquiry per month; one free mini-statement per month; free full statement covering up to a maximum of three months on demand and a free first replacement card.

“Sassa and Sapo are starting to phase in a process where, if a current Sassa pay-point is within 5km of a Post Office branch and the post office branch meets the minimum norms and standards, then the Post Office will take over the cash payments of that pay point,” Bhengu added.

Bhengu said card holders will be able to use their Sassa cards until the end of the year, and then new cards will be issued through the Post Office.

“Beneficiaries using the old Sassa Card may continue to do so until September 30 2018. We will soon introduce the new Sassa cards via the Post Office and beneficiaries will be informed about the process to be followed. The new card will be progressively introduced over the period from April to September 2018, when it is expected that the current Sassa card will no longer be in circulation at all.”

In the meantime, beneficiaries should ignore anybody offering them any alternative card to the Sassa one under the guise that the Sassa card has changed.

For clarity on this matter, beneficiaries may contact Sassa on 0800 60 10 11 or visit the nearest Sassa Office.

Beneficiaries who already receive social grants through the banks are not required to open new accounts. Beneficiaries who prefer their grants paid directly into their bank accounts should complete a Request for Bank Payment form available on www.sassa.gov.za and at any Sapo outlet or Sassa office. The completed form should be handed in at the nearest Sassa Office.

Sapo CEO Mark Barnes said Sapo would continue to meet with Sassa weekly to ensure a smooth transition.