SASSA’s smart phone requirement excludes vulnerable applicants

The South African Social Security Agency’s (SASSA) announcement that Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant recipients need smart phones to access their payments via electronic fund transfers (EFTs), places an additional burden on vulnerable South Africans.

When the grant was first announced in 2020, the DA warned that making the application process exclusively online would exclude many potential beneficiaries who did not have access to the internet, data, or the necessary devices. The Department of Social Development (DSD) and SASSA promised that volunteers would assist those vulnerable people – alas, multitudes were still left to fend for themselves.

SASSA’s requirement that only those with access to smart phones are allowed to choose certain payment methods further excludes vulnerable applicants. This new development will exclude millions of poor South Africans, many of whom, don’t have a mere phone – save to say a smart phone.

Instead of doing their all to make access to grants easier, SASSA continuously leaves beneficiaries in the lurch through all manner of obstacles.

One must question if SASSA is artificially trying to reduce beneficiary numbers following a realisation that without economic stimulation and growth, the SRD grant of R350 –vital to millions – cannot be sustained indefinitely.

The DA will write to the parliamentary portfolio committee chairperson on social development to request that SASSA accounts for their announcement.