Sassa did not pay thousands of grant beneficiaries their social grants in January 2024. The agency have also revealed when beneficiaries will be paid.
The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) is facing a crisis as 150,000 beneficiaries are affected by recent payment challenges. These challenges meant that thousands of financially vulnerable people did not receive any financial support for the first month of the year.
Sassa spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi explained that payment challenges were the result of discrepancies in grant beneficiary details, This includes discrepancies where ID numbers do not match with bank records.
The ID number does not correspond with what is appearing in the bank or you may find in some instances the details or the names as they are written when people change their payment method do not correspond
They explained that the issue was highlighted by the Auditor General, revealing potential fraudulent activity where scammers exploit the system to redirect funds.
This matter was basically picked up by the AG [auditor general] sharply so, Hence we had to make a decision to ensure that we pay the right grant to the correct person
Sassa emphasises the need for accurate information and urges beneficiaries to update their details promptly. The agency is working to address the backlog, verifying and paying legitimate beneficiaries while cautioning against phishing attempts.
Letsatsi denies that Sassa will have direct financial losses but acknowledges potential costs in rectifying fraudulent transactions. The agency said they will together with stakeholders to ensure the security and delivery of grants to deserving recipients.
Civil Society organisation #PayTheGrant says it’s been inundated with complaints from communities over these delays. Deputy Chair Elizabeth Raiters says it is wrong to suggest that payments were not made due to an error explaining that grants were suspended by Sassa.
This was done by Sassa, so they cannot call something an error if they suspend the grants.
Raiters explained that the payment failures could not have come at a worse time for many grant beneficiaries. These children may now go back to school without the necessary stationery and other essentials due to the non-payment of grants.
Knowing children are going back to school it’s even making it worse as parents cannot afford any stationary, school shoes or school uniforms at the current moment
They also say it is unlawful to suspend grants without notification to the grant beneficiaries prior to suspension. Raiters called on Sassa to reinstate suspended grants and make immediate payments to them. However, Sassa says eligible grant beneficiaries will receive a double grant payment in February.