ONE of the key goals of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) is to manage and pay social grants without the use of a third party contractor as is currently the case. In a recent statement, SASSA said they were on course to achieve this goal of ensuring that payment of social grants is handled internally. They have already made direct transfers into approximately 2.4 million personal bank accounts for this month.“This file is processed for payment through National Treasury to Bankserv for payment from SASSA’s own Paymaster General Account,” the statement said.In March, SASSA paid an amount of over R2,6 billion to those beneficiaries who receive their grants from their commercial bank accounts. The beneficiaries involved in this exercise are about 2.4 million and are paid directly without using CPS infrastructure after the function was taken over from CPS. “The remaining 8.4 million beneficiaries will be paid through the various outlets using ATMs, point of sale devices and in cash at pay points,” SASSA said.“As compared to the month of February, a growth of about 140 000 has been realised in terms of beneficiaries choosing to use the commercial bank payment channel. “This month, we will also test its capacity to directly pay the rest of the beneficiaries using ATMs and POS devices at different outlets without using a CPS infrastructure.” A total of 100 000 beneficiaries, who transact at ATMs and POS devices using their SASSA card, will have their money deposited into their SASSA cards directly by SASSA in March as part of the test that will be run. “If this test is successful, the only beneficiaries who will not fall under SASSA direct payments in the short term will be close to 2.9 million who are currently paid in cash at the more than 9 000 pay points throughout the country.” SASSA has already issued a tender for a contractor to assist with these cash payments and the appointment will be made in due course. Beneficiaries of social grants are advised to ignore agents who claim that the current SASSA card has expired and is being replaced by another card. There is only one SASSA card, and it is the one with the government coat of arms. People who are marketing their own products under the guide of these being the “new SASSA card” don’t have good intentions but use misinformation to try and burden the poor with unnecessary debt through the sale of financial products. The current SASSA card will still be valid until December this year and there is currently no need for beneficiaries to move to another card. SASSA will inform beneficiaries about the need to change the SASSA card in the future. For more info contact the SASSA toll-free number on 080 060 1011.