The South African Post Office (SAPO) has announced that its branches will no longer pay out the R350 social relief of distress (SRD) grant.
SAPO has been one of the payment options since the grant was introduced in 2020 to help the unemployed cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Post Office stops paying SRD grants
“The new round of applications for the R350 SRD grant has opened. The application app now includes an option where beneficiaries can receive their grant from any Pick n Pay, Boxer, Shoprite, Checkers or USave merchant,” SAPO said in a statement on Tuesday (10 May).
“The SA Post Office strongly advises beneficiaries to include this option [because] Post Office branches will no longer pay out SRD grants.
“If you have already reapplied for your SRD grant, you can still select the option to collect your grant from any Pick n Pay, Boxer, Shoprite, Checkers or USave. Log on to srd.sassa.gov.za and respond to the security SMS you receive on your phone. You can then include merchants in your application and submit the updated application.”
When beneficiaries visit their selected retail stores to collect their grant, they must have their own cellphone number.
“If you do not have your own number, it is best get your own SIM card and use that number to apply for your grant. You can also change your cell number on the [SASSA SRD website]. Beneficiaries will be assisted to reset card pins at the cash pay points. The card can then be used at merchants at ATMs,” Post Office said.
Beneficiaries of normal grants not affected
This announcement does not affect SASSA beneficiaries who receive old age, disability or child grants at the Post Office. They will continue getting their grants at SAPO branches.
Last week, SAPO announced that some of its branches would have insufficient cash during the month of May. It therefore urged SRD grant recipients to “consider withdrawing their grant at a supermarket or ATM.”
According to Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, about 42 percent of SRD grant recipients have collected their grants via the Post Office so far.
The decision to longer pay the grant via SAPO will therefore considerably reduce queues at its branches. Previously, the state-owned entity had to organise two separate queues – one for normal grants and the other for SRD grants.
It also had to implement a schedule of payment dates based on the last three digits of recipients’ ID numbers.
On Monday, SAPO also urged beneficiaries to avoid visiting its branches to check whether “there is any money for them,” saying this was unnecessary because they could check the status online.