In 2018, 80% of the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) pay points were decommissioned and this had a huge impact on social grant recipients, especially in the far-flung rural communities.
Bongani Bingwa chats to Black Sash national director Lynette Maart and Sassa senior media relations manager Kgomotso Diseko.
What we have found is that people in rural areas spend a lot of money to pay points or payment channels because in some of these areas there are no Sassa branches.— Lynette Maart, National director - Black Sash
She says there are only about 1,500 Sassa branches across the country and those branches are mostly in urban areas.
The national payment infrastructure is not necessarily available in those areas and where there is a footprint, the interconnectivity is often a problem.— Lynette Maart, National director - Black Sash
She says she had hoped that Sassa would bring onboard mobile units that could service rural areas.
If one compares the reduction from 10,000 pay points to 1,740 pay points now.... we want Sassa to think very carefully and bring back the pay points in rural areas. It is difficult to see how people pay money, get to the pay point and if there is no money have to go back.— Lynette Maart, National director - Black Sash
She says they would also like Sassa to pay for bank charges and the transport.
Diseko says at the end of 2017, the ConCourt directed Sassa to set up a system of direct payments into beneficiaries bank accounts.
I do admit that there are challenges, but we are working on those challenges. The huge victory is that this new Sassa card doesn't allow for debit orders.— Kgomotso Diseko, Senior media relations manager - Sassa
Listen below to the full conversation below: