Deadline looms for new Sassa cards

2018-07-10 06:01
PHOTO: nosipho mkhizeThe Post Office and South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) say social grant beneficiaries must change to the new gold Sassa card before the end of August.

PHOTO: nosipho mkhizeThe Post Office and South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) say social grant beneficiaries must change to the new gold Sassa card before the end of August.

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UPPER Highway residents are worried that the deadline date for the new South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) cards is near and they are still faced with a problem of not being able to change their old cards.

The Post Office was recently gazetted as the new preferred payment for all social grants in SA and Postbank as the issuing bank. The Post Office and Sassa then launched a new card for social grant beneficiaries, in May, and they recently announced that the old cards would be fully phased out by September 30.

The Post office said social grant beneficiaries with old white Sassa Cards should swap them for the new gold Sassa card as soon as possible.

SAPO COO, Lindiwe Kwele said the post office and Sassa have deployed teams throughout the country where dedicated temporary card swap sites have been established using existing infrastructure, such as municipality halls, to expedite the migration to the new cards. “This will ensure that as many people as possible are put onto new Sassa cards before the end of August. We call on social grant beneficiaries to swap their cards and to not leave it to the last minute,” said the COO.

However, some residents are having difficulty when they try to swap their cards. Social grant beneficiary Clementine Shozi said the process of changing the card, for her, has been a difficult journey because she’s been thrown from pillar to post and nobody seems to be able to assist her.

“I went to the official Sassa Office in my area but they told me I should go to the Post Office to change my old card to the new one. I went there and I was also told that they didn’t have the cards and they couldn’t help me,” said the 87-year-old citizen.

Mrs S Naicker says that, when she went to change her card, she left home at 8am and was part of the queue for hours at the offices, only being done by 2 pm.

“The lines were endless. I am diabetic and, even though I felt my sugar levels dropping, I was too scared to leave my place in the line to get lunch. There should have been an easier way to sort this out. Government never takes residents into consideration when implementing such tedious changes,” she said.

SAPO’s Lindwe Kwele, on the other hand, said it takes approximately three minute to be issued with a new card, once you reach the card issue desk on site. It was also noted that, once the Post office nationally becomes a card swap channel, they will issue announcements to social grants beneficiaries.

Kwele said they’ve seen people being unwittingly persuaded to accept other cards only to realise later that they will be charged all sorts of exorbitant fees. “The new gold Sassa card guarantees that you will not be debited with a monthly service fee of R 10 or more, or illegal deductions for loans, airtime or electricity,” she said.

Fever Reporter Nosipho Mkhize also spoke to a few people on the streets to find out if they have changed their old Sassa cards.

Durban resident Joseph Mhlangu said he did not come across any difficulties when he went to change his Sassa card: “I went to the Post Office and, to my surprise, there were no queues. The consultant took about 10 minutes to change my card. I just pray that this change will not affect our payments at the beginning of each month.”
Highway resident Nonhlanhla Zikode, who receives her child’s grant every month, said she has not yet changed her old Sassa card.

“I haven’t changed my old card, yet, but I will do it soon, before the deadline date. These card changes are confusing most of us because we are not well informed on how this whole system is going to work. All I know is that we will now be receiving the monthly grant payments at the Post Office, however I am not sure on whether we will receive ATM charges if we withdraw at the banks,” she said.

The new Sassa card operates fully within the national payment system and it has a number of benefits for social grant beneficiaries

• Three cash withdrawals from any participating merchant (Shoprite, Boxer, etc)

• One free over the counter cash withdrawal at the Post Office

•Unlimited free swipes (purchase payments) at all merchants

• One free ATM balance enquiry per month

• The only deduction permitted is for funeral policies, up to no more 10% of the grant value

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