SASSA and SAPO Fail to Directly Pay Grant Beneficiaries.
12 May 2022
Black Sash initially supported the partnership between the Department of Social Development (DSD) and the South African Post Office (SAPO) to administer social grants as a state led hybrid model with State accountability subject to its mandate and fulfilment of its constitutional obligations. Some of these obligations included a ring-fenced bank account with a basket of free services where it was envisaged that social grant beneficiaries would be able to have access to services.
However, since the South African Post Office has been administering social grants, it has been plagued with issues ranging from technical glitches, no interconnectivity, limited staff, corruption by SAPO officials, shortage of cash, delays with cash delivery closure of post offices and a shrinking footprint of SAPO with no detail if and how SAPO is being held to account by SASSA for not fulfilling its obligations in terms of its Memorandum of Agreement. Black Sash would like to know what SAPO is being paid for considering they keep trying to shift payments into the corporate sector encouraging the use of banks and retailers for beneficiaries to access their grants. One wonders what the future holds for the SASSA and SAPO partnership?
Considering the recent announcement by SASSA that as from 11 May 2022, the cash pay points and SAPO outlets that beneficiaries usually access their grants from will no longer be available to service the beneficiaries Black Sash wants answers as to how this affects the Memorandum of Agreement and Service Level Agreements, and a report of what services SASSA has paid to SAPO for performing to date.
SASSA is taking two steps back by not putting contingency measures in place where beneficiaries do not bear the brunt of the administrative challenges. It is imperative that DSD and SASSA consider alternative measures for beneficiaries to access their grants at no cost. While using retailers is at no cost to the beneficiary, there must be caution about the fact that private businesses are performing a government service to ensure that there will not be a repeat of the Cash Paymaster Services debacle that led to the SASSA crisis where Black Sash had to make an urgent application to the Constitutional Court.