Rural social grant beneficiaries bear the brunt of closed Sassa pay points

Rural Sassa beneficiaries are the most vulnerable
Rural Sassa beneficiaries are the most vulnerable
Image: Sassa

A recent study reveals that rural social grant beneficiaries are most affected by the decommissioning process of the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) pay points.

An in-depth study by the Black Sash and the department of political studies at the University of Western Cape (UWC) found that the decommissioning of Sassa’s pay points has had a negative impact on social grant recipients, especially on their pockets and bodies.

The study released last week found that in rural areas there is not always access to  a South African Post Office (Sapo) branch, a retailer or the national payment system (NPS) infrastructure, including ATMs.

“For many rural grant beneficiaries, the time and distance travelled to access grants has increased significantly with exorbitant transport costs which they cannot afford,

"In the past, grant recipients could query problems with payment at the Sassa pay point but now if there is a problem at the access points, they must make an additional trip to the Sassa office and also to the police station too to get an affidavit,” the report read.

Black Sash said the closure of almost 80% of cash pay points has had a devastating impact on social grant beneficiaries, especially in rural and peri-urban areas.

“Beneficiaries have a constitutional right to receive the full value of their monthly social grant in a dignified manner. Currently, beneficiaries must join public queues at Sapo, retailers and ATMs without any guaranteed seating, water, shelter, access to toilets or security. Pensioners are standing for hours and many travel to multiple payment channels in a day to get their money.”

 Blask Sash said the current situation cannot continue as the lives of the most vulnerable members are being compromised through constrained access to grants as a result of the decommissioning of pay points and the inadequate provision of services by both Sassa and Sapo.

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