Frustration and anger in Cape Town as social grant money arrives late

The Sassa head office in Pretoria, South Africa.
The Sassa head office in Pretoria, South Africa.
Image: Gallo Images / Alet Pretorius

A number of social grants recipients in Cape Town had an unpleasant surprise on Friday.

They were told upon their arrival at the Hout Bay post office that they would not be paid out because there was no money. Passersby said chaos then erupted.

The SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) confirmed the incident. Shivani Wahab, the agency's Western Cape spokesperson, blamed it on cash vans delivering the money late.

"Sassa can confirm that there was a shortage of cash at the Hout Bay post office branch. This was as a result of delays with cash being transported by cash in transit vans,"  said Wahab.

"However, things have improved ... and we can confirm that all post office branches are paying out social grants."

Sassa has been beset by operational challenges for many years. It also had a major legal headache over a tender to administer the payments. The tender skirmish was resolved by the Constitutional Court in 2013 when it declared Cash Paymaster Services' contract invalid. However, the court suspended the invalidity order to ensure that grant payments would not be interrupted. 

Now grants are paid directly into beneficiaries' bank accounts of choice or into Postbank accounts. 

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