THE South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) in the Free State has achieved a lot. Among the things it has achieved are:
1. Increased access to social grants
Social assistance in the form of social grants is government’s major anti-poverty programme targeting mainly vulnerable and poverty-stricken children, women, the elderly and the disabled.
A total of 984 000 Free State people in need are benefiting from social grants amounting to over R7,8 billion annually. The number of people benefiting constitutes 35% of the Free State population.
2. Income distribution to the poor
Budget and income to social grant beneficiaries grew from R5 billion to R7,8 billion per annum between 2009 and 2016.
Monthly grant payments grew from R400 million to R674 million between 2009 and 2016.
3. Combating child poverty
At present, there is a total of 716 744 children benefiting from various child grants, these being child support grants, foster child grants and care dependency grants. This constitutes 73% of the total grant beneficiaries.
In addition, over 3 000 malnourished children benefited from the Zero Hunger Project, while over 5 000 learners in need also benefited from the school uniform project during the 2015-’16 financial year.
4. Old age equalisation
In the past, men qualified for old age pension at the age of 65, whilst women qualified at the age of 60. Since April 2010, men have also qualified from the age of 60, just like women.
This has resulted in increased access to pensions by senior citizens.
5. Outreach programmes
Social assistance services have been taken into remote informal settlements, rural and farm communities through integrated community registration programmes (ICROP) using mobile trucks and stakeholder collaboration (for example Home Affairs and the provincial Operation Hlasela Programme).
6. Office and pay point infrastructure
In November 2015, a decision was taken to fully brand all Sassa vehicles.
The vehicle branding is a smart investment as a promotional tool, as it promotes and markets the organisation to clients and external stakeholders.
In doing so, we ensure that we keep the name of the Agency in the minds of the people we serve, our clients and stakeholders.
Several pay points and offices, including municipality halls and tribal facilities, have been upgraded to the tune of about R50 million between 2009 and 2016 in order to promote human dignity, especially for persons with disabilities and senior citizens during pension pay-outs.
Open space pay points have been eliminated by erecting decent steel structures in the following areas: Thaba Nchu – Mokoena, Ratlou, Zone 1, Zone 3 and Selosesha; QwaQwa – Z.R. Mahabane, Sephokong, Monontsha, Boitelo, Lerato, Bluegum-bush, Tsolo, Tebogo, and Letsibolo.
7. Fraud prevention
Sassa has conducted several media campaigns and radio interviews to educate and warn grant recipients against fraud, misuse of social grants, as well as unlawful deductions and loans by micro-lenders.
Anti-fraud operations involving law enforcement agencies are continuously being conducted to arrest loan sharks and syndicates engaging in illegal activities and exploiting grant recipients.
Members of the public are encouraged to immediately report any suspected fraud to the police or to call Sassa’s toll-free number (0800-60-10-11) or customer care number (051-410-8339).