Sassa changes payout days after lockdown pay crush

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In Dunoon, people queued closely together to get their social grants.
In Dunoon, people queued closely together to get their social grants.
Peter Luhanga, GroundUp

Due to long queues during the lockdown, the SA Social Security Agency's (Sassa) grant payout days will be changed to protect the elderly.

As from May, disability grants as well as those for the elderly will be paid on the fourth, while others will be paid on the sixth. 

In a statement, Sassa said grant payments for April was brought forward to 30 March to allow people to buy supplies during the lockdown without them being caught up in long queues or exposing themselves to Covid-19. 

However, chaos ensued, including a situation in Dobsonville, Soweto, where a group of young people pushed the elderly out of the way to get to the pay points first. 

READ | To feed my children, I must wait with all these people. I have no choice - grant recipient

"In response to this unpleasant experience, Sassa started consulting role players such as the National Treasury, South African Post Office, the banking association, retailers, and consumer goods council among others. 

"What came out of the consultations were that people with disabilities and the aged needed to be protected from the month-end rush at payment outlets and therefore payment needs to be staggered in such a way that these categories of beneficiaries receive their grants before others. 

"To effect this, Sassa will make use of two payment files. The first one will cover the aged and the disabled while the second will cover all other grant types.

"Some older people use one card to also receive child support and foster grants. In such cases, they will be able to access all linked grants from the fourth of every month.

"Once the money is in the account, it will remain there until it is needed, and will not be taken back if not used.

"There is no need to rush to withdraw cash on the first day - we deposit it into your account. 

"The Sassa card can be used as a debit card to pay for purchases, therefore it is not necessary to withdraw cash and thereafter purchase goods with the cash," said Sassa CEO Busisiwe Memela.

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