Sassa receives constant complaints from beneficiaries when it comes to Sassa grant payments and paying those who qualify for a grant. Now, the Agency has said that their systems work to pay grants seamlessly.
The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) disburses more than 19 million permanent grants to vulnerable people living in South Africa every month. With many cases of delayed payments reported, members of Parliament (MPs) have been questioning Sassa’s capabilities.
While answering a question from an MP, Sassa was questioned on steps taken to ensure eligible grant recipients are paid on time, and they said:
On a month-to-month basis, DSD ensures that a payment schedule is uploaded and payments are authorised well in advance. SASSA pays the grants directly into the bank accounts of eligible beneficiaries, every month without fail.
There are however cases where people who submitted Sassa grant applications but don’t qualify, receive grant payments. Sassa explained that this “is sometimes as a result of instances where beneficiaries’ circumstances have changed and Sassa is not notified in time or the databases that are relied upon are not updated in time”.
Sassa has said that the number of incorrect payments are low “as can be seen by the low number of appeals that get upheld” and due to their stringent background checks and regular reviews of approved beneficiaries which are done.
However, there will always be applicants who attempt to defraud the Agency, or client who do not update their records when their circumstances change. These remain a small group of clients. SASSA has a relatively strong Fraud unit aimed at deterring such behaviour.
What does Sassa do to improve service delivery?
It’s well-known that Sassa often has glitches and issues when it comes to service delivery and payment of grants which sometimes leave beneficiaries without grants for months. However, the Agency has insisted that they have put systems and structures in place at different levels to ensure that processes are followed as they should be.
Some of the key oversight initiatives by the Department of Social Development is that a Social Assistance Service Delivery Assurance Committee has bi-monthly meetings to discuss issues and monitors compliance with social assistance legislation, service delivery norms and standards and deliberates on service delivery related challenges.
The Department also conducts oversight visits at SASSA local offices, SAPO branches and cash pay points. Financial and compliance audits are also done.
To monitor and mitigate incorrect payments to people who don’t qualify for Sassa grants, Sassa has said, “the Inspectorate for Social Assistance conducts audits aimed at identifying any weaknesses in the systems that may expose SASSA to fraud”.