Beneficiaries who make use of cards to collect their social grant distributed by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) have been advised by the South African Post Office (SAPO) to check when their Sassa card expires to ensure that they are able to collect their grant payments. They say there will not be an extension.
Those with Sassa cards that have expired must visit their nearest SAPO branch and replace the cards on hand. The cards will be replaced in a staggered approach with priority given to those with cards expiring in March.
What Is The South African Social Security Agency?
The South African Social Security Agency is known as Sassa. It is the organisation that has the job of distributing social grants to people who qualify as grant beneficiaries in South Africa. After applying for grants you should run a Sassa status check to ensure that you will be paid.
Sassa falls under the Social Development department which is a national department of the government.
This is a breakdown of the number of Sassa cards that have been expiring over recent months:
March 2023: 159 466
April 2023: 861 952
May 2023: 2 769 735
June 2023: 1 836 826
What is a Social Grant?
Social grants are provided by the South African government to financially assist those who are poor and disadvantaged. The South African Social Security agency, Sassa, is the govenment body that is responsible for paying the right amount of money, to the right recipient, at the right time.
The major grants in South Africa that Sassa pays out include the disability grant, the social relief of distress grant, the child support grant, among others. Once an applicant for a gant is approved they need to verify their identity and then their social grant will be paid by Sassa. Don't forget that your grant can be paid into a bank account by Sassa.
The South African Reserve Bank's Monetary Policy Committee has been increasing the repo rate in recent months in an effort to curb rising inflation, however many are concerned that beneficiaries of government social grants are not able to cope with the high cost of living in the country.
The Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant was introduced in 2020 during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. The R350 grant from Sassa was intended to assist those who are unemployed and do not receive any form of income to support themselves and their families.
The Institute for Economic Justice Co-founder Neil Coleman said that the R350 grant was having a positive impact in terms of ending hunger and it had a positive stimulus effect on local economies and assisting people in entering employment.
Who Are Grant Recipients?
The R350 SRD grant has assisted over 10 million people to provide for their basic needs but many beneficiaries say rising inflation means that they can't afford to buy the same amount of items they bought in the past.
One beneficiary said:
Current cost of living is too high and you can barely survive with R350 if you go to the shops. What can you get with R350?
The R350 grant was intended to help people who don't have work with the very basic level of support until they find a job. However jobs are very hard to come by, particularly for young people. The latest report from Stats SA shows that 250,000 young people lost their jobs in the first 3 months of this year. This bring the total number of young people who are unemployed to almost 5 million.
R350 grant was extended until 31 March 2024, however Treasury is concerned about where the funding for the grant will come from.
Despite these concerns, civil groups and beneficiaries are calling for the grant to be increased. There have also been calls for the grant to be changed to a Basic Income Grant as people who support this idea say it will boost the economy and vastly improve the lives of poorer South Africans. Those opposed to the BIG say it will be too expensive for the country and will bankrupt the government.
When Are Grant Payments Made?
For most social grants there is a specific payment date each month. This used to be the case for the SRD R350 grant but that has now changed and there is no specific payment date. The payments can be made directly into your bank account but make sure that Sassa has the correct banking details for you when paying the SRD grant or other grants.