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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

150 000 Sassa grant beneficiaries not paid in January

The latest payment glitch affecting thousands of Sassa grant beneficiaries, comes at a time when parents need to buy school supplies.

The number of beneficiaries who have not received their South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) grant payments for January have risen to 150 000, more than double the initial estimate of 70 000 reported on Tuesday.

Sassa spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi blamed the latest payment glitch affecting the hard-hit grant recipients on “verification delays”.

Verification process cited for Sassa grant payment delay

“We are aware of non-payments, and this is a result of bank verifications, meaning that the details provided to us do not perfectly match or correspond to the ones registered in the bank. For example, you may find that a name has been misspelt or a letter is missing.”

Letsatsi said the agency undertakes a verification process of banking details, names, addresses and ID numbers every month to prevent fraud.

The spokesperson told News24 that the relocation of beneficiaries impacted by devastating floods which impacted various parts of the country over the festive season might have contributed to in the payment delay.

“If people change their address, they must inform us,” Letsatsi urged.

ALSO READ: Sassa paid more than R31m to the dead between 2023-2024

Card switches and recurring technical glitches

SowetanLIVE, however, reported on Tuesday that most of the social grants beneficiaries left out in the cold had switched their Sassa cards to bank-issued cards. 

ALSO READ: Post Office business rescue plan: no more Sassa, 6 000 to be retrenched

Sassa has been in the spotlight over the past two years for a string of damning failures within its payment system, as well as allegations of fraud and corruption by officials.

In September, thousands of social grant recipients were left without money after a “technical glitch” disrupted payment into the accounts of recipients who use Sassa gold cards.

ALSO READ: It’s officials, our govt officials! Zulu admits workers fleeced Sassa of R50m in two years

Back-to-school dilemma for child support grant beneficiaries

Reporting on the latest payment glitch, GroundUp spoke to Elizabeth Raiters, who heads up the helpdesk at #PayTheGrants.

Along with Black Sash, the organisation has been inundated with calls from affected beneficiaries nationwide.

“It is very bad for beneficiaries,” said Raiters. “Children have to go back to school and now the parents can’t buy food or stationery.”

The child support grant currently stands at R510 a month and is a lifeline to parents of 65% of the country’s children who receive the grant.

Black Sash Western Cape coordinator Thandi Hanekom also told the publication that there has been an uptick in reports of erroneous suspensions.

ALSO READ: Glitches resolved and Sassa grants have now been paid out

Damage control: Sassa says it is addressing the issue

Letsatsi said that Sassa officials were busy calling affected beneficaries “to fix these human errors”.

“Once we have called you, you will receive your money in no time. We understand the frustrations that people have to eat and buy other needed stuff,” Letsatsi said.

He also urged beneficiaries to visit their nearest Sassa branch office to verify their details so they can access their grant

Letsatsi added that Sassa would release a statement with more information later on Wednesday.

NOW READ: Sassa SRD grant 2024: Dates, applications and possibility of an increase…

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