The first batch of new South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) grant payment cards were distributed in Worcester on Tuesday. The new cards were also distributed to small groups of beneficiaries in eight other locations in the country.SASSA says this is the pilot phase to get social grant beneficiaries to swop their existing Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) or Net1 “green” cards to the new South African Post Office–SASSA Postbank account cards.All new beneficiaries will be issued with the Postbank card. Existing grant recipients can swap their current cards by visiting their nearest SASSA or post office from 2 May until the end of September.The post office began its management of the grants payment system on 1 April, but CPS is expected to continue servicing cash beneficiaries until the end of September.Speaking to Members of Parliament in February, Lindiwe Kwele, Group Chief Operating Officer at the Post Office, said that grant recipients would have “one free card replacement per annum, three free merchant withdrawals, one free balance enquiry per month, one free mini-statement per month and one free three-month statement”.But at the launch on Tuesday, SASSA acting CEO Pearl Bengu announced that government would be “absorbing” all the card’s transactional charges. “The new card will prevent fraudulent transactions as [the Post Office] will not allow unauthorised debits,” she said.No deductions for loans, airtime, electricity, life policies or funeral plans will be allowed on the Postbank accounts. Since 2013, the Black Sash has been advocating that deductions made automatically and directly from beneficiaries’ accounts be stopped.