Please find attached soundbite by Bridget Masango MP.
The DA has received many complaints that recipients of the old-age grant have been left stranded by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) partnered disbursement outlets such as Pick n Pay, Boxer, Shoprite, Checkers and Usave merchants.
In an attempt to solve the chronic problem of long queues, inefficiency, staff shortages and an outdated technological infrastructure, the Department of Social Development (DSD) and SASSA shifted the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant disbursement mechanism to partnered pay points.
The DA has been inundated with messages and calls exposing the chaos experienced in grocery stores. Reports have highlighted that technical errors on SASSA’s side resulted in the old-age grant payment being brought forward from the 3rd to the 2nd of June. As a result, funds are unavailable. This has left many pensioners waiting for their disbursements.
Additionally, reports have highlighted that there is a national error with regards to disbursements via Pick n Pay outlets. Funds are unavailable leaving many recipients having to stand in long queues in grocery stores, unsure of when the payment error will be resolved and their grants will be paid out.
These issues arise out of the discontinuation of payment of the R350 SRD grant from South African Post Office (SAPO) branches. SAPO has revised their application and disbursement mechanisms for the SRD grant, which now requires beneficiaries to collect their funds at partnered pay points. This has caused confusion and chaos.
Every month, vulnerable South Africans struggle to access their grants due to a technical glitch, systems crashes, and changes in grant qualification requirements. Millions of vulnerable South Africans rely on these grants to support their families, and every month there is uncertainty on whether their grants will be disbursed and accessed on time. The DA will continue to fight for systems to be updated and streamlined so that millions of vulnerable South Africans are not left in the lurch.