Post Office Closures Concerning For Sassa Grant Beneficiaries

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The Post Office has commenced with its plan to cut costs and save money. This includes closing Post Office branches, affecting thousands of people who rely on branches to collect their Sassa grants. 

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Bongani Diako, Postbank spokesperson says they have been implementing its plan to close South African Post Office (SAPO) Branches around the country. The first phase of the closure of Post Office cash payment points for social grants has kicked off with a total of 870 Cash Payment Points (CPP) being closed.

In February, branches in urban areas as well as branches providing services to fifty people or less will be closed. The remaining branches will be closed in March. 

This means that millions of people who rely on Post Office branches over for Over The Counter (OTC) Payment Services and CPP services will need to make alternative arrangements. This includes individuals who benefit from the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa)

Sassa has more than 18 million grant beneficiaries, many of whom collect their grants at post office branches. These include beneficiaries of the Older Persons pension grant, Disability grant, War Veterans grant, Care Dependency grant, Foster Child grant, Child Support grant, Child Support grant Top-Up and Grant-in-aid.

With CPPs shutting down, grant beneficiaries will need to utilise different National Payment System (NPS) channels. They can then still draw their social grants at ATMs and various retailers like Boxer, Pick n Pay, Spar, Shoprite, Usave, or Checkers.

Diako has said that the Post Office will still be available to assist with the issuance of new Sassa gold cards, resetting of Sassa card pins, printing of statements, and other such non-cash services. 

They added that grant beneficiaries have been taken into consideration when deciding which Post Office branches to close, only opting to close branches close to other NPCs. 

We have ensured that those beneficiaries have more reliable and sustainable channels to access [their grants]. 

Diako said only about 100,000 people out of 18 million beneficiaries tried to access their grants at post office branches since the announcement. 

Why This Is Happening 

SAPO is not in a healthy financial state. They have been in business rescue and have lost R6 billion in the past three years, including a R2.2 billion loss for the 2022/2023 financial year. 

Postbank revealed in 2023 that they would implement several measures to cut costs at the post office. Their plan included the retrenchment of approximately 6,000 people exploited by SAPO and phasing out revenue streams that have “failed to produce value”. 

The revenue services referred to include OTC payment services, which include SASSA and CPP payments. This meant that Post Office branches would stop paying social grants. 

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Sassa is responsible for disbursing grants to approximately 18 million South Africans every month. One of the grants distributed is Sassa child grants.


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