6.7 million get grants at post office

Crooks are targeting new grant pay sites.
Crooks are targeting new grant pay sites.

The SA Post Office is now paying more than 6.7 million social grant beneficiaries across the country.

The post office was initially criticised by former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini for not having the capacity to render the service of distributing social grants.

It has, however, moved from paying 31448 beneficiaries in April, to 6708791 now.

About 4.2 million beneficiaries were being paid through banks.

This was revealed in the 10th report submitted to the Constitutional Court this week by a panel of experts appointed by the apex court to oversee the work of paying grants by the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa).

The report unpacked the level of progress made as Cash Paymaster Service (CPS) was being fazed out from paying social grants at the end of last month.

The Constitutional Court had extended CPS's invalid contract by six months in March, to allow the post office to be in a position to take over the distribution of social grants to more than 10 million beneficiaries.

The report also indicated that the post office had increased the number of pay points from 18 pilot sites in August to 1252 last month servicing 385848 beneficiaries.

Sassa has indicated that for this month, a total of R7.6bn had already been disbursed from an amount of R8.4bn they have channelled through the post office for payment to social grant beneficiaries.

"This clearly indicates that the payment processes are continuing, notwithstanding some challenges which have been experienced along the way," Sassa spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi said.

The report, however, also raised concerns about criminals seemingly targeting post office pay points, with at least 30 recent incidents including burglaries, robberies and ATM bombings reported.

The incidents, which also included cash-in-transit heists, were recorded in the first week of the October social grant payment cycle, leading to disruptions and delays in the distribution of grants as criminals escaped with an undisclosed amount of money.

"Sassa informed the panel that this matter [security] is receiving urgent attention from the relevant governmental agencies," the report stated.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.