The SA Post Office (Sapo) will no longer pay out the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant in a bid to reduce long queues for other grant beneficiaries at its branches.
In a statement on Tuesday, Sapo announced that beneficiaries can now receive their grant from any Pick n Pay, Boxer, Shoprite, Checkers or USave merchant.
Sapo said applicants and current beneficiaries must select the option on the SRD website to collect their grant from the retail stores. Sapo Spokesperson Johan Kruger said that beneficiaries must have their own cellphone number to withdraw their grant at supermarkets. “Those without their own numbers should purchase a SIM card and use that number to apply for a grant,” he said.
Under the new regulations, beneficiaries must re-apply for the grant. The new regulations also disqualify people earning R350 or more per month – revised down from R625. By the first week into the new cycle of applications, at least seven million people had already applied for the SRD grant.
The Black Sash has previously warned that when beneficiaries get their grants at ATM’s, and retail stores they have to pay a fee which reduces the cash value of the grant.
Meanwhile, the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) said it plans to roll out an automated queue management system to deal with crowds outside its offices.
During a briefing to the Western Cape Standing Committee on Social Development on Tuesday, Abraham Mahlangu, Sassa’s chief information officer and acting regional executive manager said the system would be rolled out this financial year at 18 Sassa offices, two in each province
He said the electronic queue management system to streamline the administration of grants had been piloted at the Benoni office. “The system should be able to screen and direct people. You will get codes for different lines of service with codes for which queue you should stand in. In certain areas, they’ll be express codes for people who don’t need to be there for a long time and only need a printout of documents, “he said.
Mahlangu said once they have tested the automated system nationally, Sassa will roll it out similarly to the disability grant’s online booking system.
Last year, Sassa launched an online booking system for people to get medical assessments to see if they qualify for a disability grant. The service was piloted in the Western Cape which had the biggest backlog of medical assessments for the grant.