Sarb: Sassa must act urgently over grant payments

The South African Reserve Bank says it has no role to play in Sassa’s decision on its future grant payment system.

FILE: Pensioners stand in line as they wait to withdraw their monthly monies from a Sassa pay out point. Picture: Lauren Isaacs/EWN

CAPE TOWN – The South African Reserve Bank says the Social Security Agency of South Africa (Sassa) needs to act urgently in deciding how it will pay out grants from 1 April.

The bank has been briefing Parliament’s social development portfolio committee on its role in the institutionalisation of the social grants system with just a month to go before the current payment contract lapses.

Sassa on Wednesday morning withdrew its application to the Constitutional Court, asking it for direction on what to do about the future payment of grants.

A day after Sassa officials told Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts it would not be approaching the Constitutional Court, it did so only hours later.

On Wednesday, Democratic Alliance (DA) Member of Parliament (MP) Lindy Wilson said she was baffled by the withdrawal of the application.

The Reserve Bank’s Tim Masela has told the portfolio committee on social development that the bank has no role to play in Sassa’s decision on its future grant payment system.

But Masela says whatever route Sassa opts for, it must do so soon.

Sassa officials told MPs the agency’s acting chief executive officer was locked in discussions in Pretoria to decide the way forward.

Meanwhile, social grant recipients are concerned that come 1 April, they won’t be receiving any payments.

At a payout point in the Cape Town CBD on Wednesday morning an elderly woman said she's growingly increasingly worried.

“Our rent board isn’t going to be a good Samaritan by helping us out for that one month. We’re going to lose our house – that is our lease agreement. If we don’t pay our rent for one month, we’re out. So we’re worried now.”

(Edited by Tamsin Wort)