JOHANNESBURG – The South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) has been able to pay over 2 million beneficiaries since cutting ties with CPS.
The agency announced on Thursday that it had successfully paid over 2 million beneficiaries who receive their grants from commercial banks.
“This was done today through our Paymaster General account which was opened recently. This move is a giant step taken towards SASSA ultimately paying all beneficiaries using any type of electronic payment method. It is part of complying fully with the orders of the Constitutional Court, and phasing out CPS, the current service provider” the agency’s CEO Pearl Bengu said.
She said as from the 1st of March 2018, Sassa would also do direct transfers to about 5.7 million beneficiaries who use the SASSA card.
This would bring about 80% of the payment transactions under the control of Sassa, by the end of March 2018.
“By April, the only beneficiaries whose payments won’t be falling under Sassa’s direct control will be the ones paid in cash at SASSA paypoints. Sassa has already gone to the market for the cash payment category by way of advertising a tender. This represents just under 3 million beneficiaries,” she said.
Bengu added that until recently, the legislated life insurance premium deductions of 700 000 beneficiary accounts, were deducted through a third party contractor. She said the agency was in the process of completing the take-over of this responsibility from CPS, who had been managing these on Sassa’s behalf.
She said Sassa was in the process of negotiating with banks to charge beneficiaries low rates to ensure they get their full payments.
“Sassa is currently negotiating with the banking industry in order to develop a low cost banking account which will be subsidized by Sassa so that beneficiaries get the full value of their grants without paying bank charges. Such an account will not allow electronic debits and is intended to protect beneficiaries from unauthorised debits which have been a problem in the past,” she said.
Sassa and the SA Post Office entered into an agreement to execute the payment of social grants. The contract was expected to kick start in April.
The contract with Cash Paymaster Services was declared invalid by the Constitutional Court but was later extended until such a time a suitable provider could be found.
Current Sassa card holders are told not to worry about the validity of their cards. She said the current Sassa card is still valid and will only expire at the end of the year; by which time the new Sassa/Sapo card shall have been introduced.
“Sassa has gone on a countrywide awareness campaign to inform beneficiaries with these developments and to eliminate fake messages which tell beneficiaries to switch to some questionable new cards. The public is reminded to contact 0800601011 in case they need more clarity,” she said.