The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has paid all R350 social relief of distress (SRD) grant beneficiaries who initially selected the cash send payment option.
This is according to SASSA spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi, who told TimesLIVE in an interview that the Agency has now paid such beneficiaries via bank accounts or the Post Office.
Applicants who chose cash send as their preferred option experienced long delays in receiving their grants last year, prompting SASSA to send them SMS notifications to choose different options in January this year.
“Most provided their own bank account numbers and those who did not provide bank details or who not respond were paid through the South African Post Office (SAPO),” Letsatsi told the publication.
SASSA has previously explained that “cash send” was not yet available because the Agency was still “finalising contracting with the banks.”
“The previous contracts expired when the grant came to an end and we had to follow a procurement process to enter into contracts once again. This whole process has, unfortunately, delayed the contracting significantly,” it said in January.
Cash send option still coming
Letsatsi said SASSA is now close to finalising the cash send payment option. Once it becomes available, beneficiaries who opt for it must ensure that their cellphone numbers are registered in their names.
“It must, however, be noted that checks and balances have to be in place before any cash send payments can be made. The first check required is to ensure the nominated cellphone is registered in the name of the approved beneficiary of the R350 grant,” he explained.
Last week, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu revealed in a parliamentary reply that of the 10,563,123 approved SRD grant beneficiaries, 42 percent collect their grants through SAPO while 58 percent receive it in their personal bank accounts.
Besides bank accounts and SAPO, other payment channels include Pick n Pay and Boxer stores as well as Shoprite, Usave and Checkers stores.
“Negotiations with the Spar group to also allow access to the relief grant are at an advanced stage and further announcements will be made shortly. SASSA is also finalising the contracting with banks, to allow for the payment to be made to mobile phones. This channel will be available for the extension of the grant from April 2022 to March 2023,” Minister Zulu said.
The grant, which has since been shifted from the National Disaster Act to the Social Assistance Act, will be in place until March 2023.