The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) recently placed thousands of social grants, and its beneficiaries, under review.
More than 38 000 social handouts were flagged for assessment by Sassa. A spokesman for the agency, Sandy Godlwana, stated that in January 2022, their KZN regional offices designated 78 811 social grants for assessment.
As of July 2022, 38 622 beneficiaries did not heed the call to provide the requested information and documentation, thus compelling the agency to suspend the payment of these 38 622 grants at the end of July.
In terms of the Social Assistance Act, Sassa may conduct a review at any time when it has a reason to believe that the beneficiary's circumstances, including financial circumstances, may have changed, explained the Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu.
A total of 84 389 recipients of the various Sassa grants were placed under review. As of 2023, 58 548 Sassa grant recipients (in total, across all 9 provinces) were successfully reviewed.
"These reviews are often triggered when Sassa beneficiaries are found on databases, indicating that they may be in receipt of income that they’ve not declared. Similarly, a large portion of the reviews are also triggered by the office of the Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA) audit finding, which also involves database checks," explained the department.
How do Sassa grant reviews work?
Each beneficiary of a Sassa grant must notify Sassa of any changes to their circumstances, such as changes to their marital status, income, employment status, medical condition, and ability to demonstrate their continued existence.
The Regulations makes it the responsibility of the clients to notify the Agency of any changes in personal details. This will enable Sassa to share important information with the client as it uses the details captured on the application form.
Sassa uses registered mail sent via the post office as provided for in Regulation 30 of Social Assistance Regulations. By law, the responsibility is on the beneficiary to ensure that their contact details are up to date with the Agency.
This will enable SASSA to share important information with the client as it uses the details captured on the application form. The legislation follows three steps, as explained by the Minister:
- The first is notify the client of a review.
- The second is to suspend their grant, if they do not respond to the review request. This caters for beneficiaries who did not get the communication, as they would/should approach SASSA if their grant is suspended, to find out why. They will then be notified of the review, and should they complete the review and still qualify for the grant, the suspension will be lifted.
- The third and final step is cancelling the grant if the beneficiary does not come forward for the review or approach SASSA after being suspended.
A total of 25 841 social grants have been stopped across all 9 provinces, since clients were not coming forward regarding the relevant changes.
The total number of grants stopped due to clients no longer meeting the means test and qualifying criteria across the 9 provinces is 12 057.
There are still 25 841 SASSA clients that are yet to be reviewed, across all 9 provinces.
SASSA plays a critical role in promoting social development and economic growth in South Africa. By providing financial support to vulnerable groups, the Agency helps to reduce poverty and inequality, which are major barriers to development.