The social development department yesterday said it will abide by last week's Pretoria High Court decision compelling it to accept grant applications from people who do not have identity documents.
"The department respects the decision of the High Court that the regulations must be implemented regarding the provision of alternative documentation for access to social grants," the department said in a statement.
The department had been relying on provisions of the 1992 social welfare Act - which did not bind it to accept alternative means of identification.
"Understandably, until now we have not considered alternative means of identification when applications are submitted for social assistance grants, nor have we adjusted the IT systems to accept beneficiaries without ID numbers," the department said.
While the department would take steps to implement the ruling, it was concerned the judgment might open floodgates for fraudulent applications.
"The department is taking legal advice on how to mitigate the significant risks posed by allowing for the use of alternative identification documentation on the system," the department said.
The judgment followed the March court application by the Alliance for Children's Entitlement to Social Security (ACCESS) against the department's current policies that prevent people without identity documents from applying for social grants. - Sapa