The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has moved to allay fears – again – that the SASSA social grant card will continue to work beyond the expiry date printed on the card.
SASSA spokesman Paseka Lesatsi, reacting to renewed fears that the cards would cease to be operational beyond the said date, said the existing SASSA social grant card (the card with the South African flag colours and Coat of Arms on it) was the only SASSA payment card and would continue to work.
“No beneficiary should therefore be coerced into taking a new card. SASSA only issues one card and does not endorse or support any other bank cards.”
He said the SASSA payment card operated like most bank cards and social grant beneficiaries were able to enter into debit order agreements for products/services, and have payments effected from their accounts.
“Many services, such as marketing of pre-paid airtime, pre-paid electricity and loans are targeted directly at social grant beneficiaries, with the repayments coming off their accounts. The challenge faced by SASSA is that in some cases, the financial products are sold to social grant beneficiaries without them understanding the full implications of what they are agreeing to.”
When the grant was thus paid, he said, the loan repayments for products like pre-paid airtime would come off before the beneficiary could access the grant, leading to complaints.
“SASSA has gone out of its way to resolve these complaints, in order to assist the beneficiaries.”
He said the only direct deduction from a social grant which was permitted was a deduction for funeral policy premiums managed under Regulation 26 (A) of the Social Assistance Act 2004.
“The regulation allows for one deduction, which may not exceed 10% of the value of the grant, from the adult grants (old age, war veterans and permanent disability grants) only. No direct deductions for funeral policy premiums may be effected from any temporary grant or child grant. There are about 700 000 funeral policy deductions which take place monthly. It must be made clear that SASSA does not offer or endorse any funeral policies, however, any qualifying beneficiary is free to take out a policy.”
Through Regulation 26 (A), SASSA offered a facility for the payment of the monthly premium, but this was done only with the written consent of the beneficiary.
“SASSA wants to reiterate that it does not provide loans, funeral insurance, pre-paid products or any financial services. We provide social grants which are intended to provide a financial support for those who have zero or little income, to ensure that they have the means to provide the basics for their survival. Anything which erodes the value of the social grant is not supported by SASSA in any way.
Members of the public may contact SASSA on 0800 60 10 11 or its Facebook and Twitter pages for more information.