Post Office boss confirms Sassa's request for help to distribute grants

Sassa still doesn't have a plan in place to ensure some 17 million beneficiaries receive their grants come 1 April.

A screengrab of new CEO of the South African Post Office, Mark Barnes. Picture: BDTV.

CAPE TOWN - The Post Office says it's willing to help in the distribution of social grant payments from next month.

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) still doesn't have a plan in place to ensure some 17 million beneficiaries receive their grants.

Its contract with the current service provide, Cash Paymaster Services, will lapse at the end of March.

Sassa is trying to negotiate a new contract.

Post Office CEO Mark Barnes says the organisation can provide a solution to make sure beneficiaries can be paid.

“We do have solutions and can provide solutions through our electronic voucher system. All current beneficiaries can be paid using this system and it’s in use at the Department of Public Works in Eastern Cape.”

Barnes has confirmed the Post Office received a request from Sassa management for help.

“We are not in the middle of a tender. We are in the process of an RFI (a request for information) which is different from a request for a quotation.”

Sassa’s silence has left some beneficiaries distressed with some describing it as a “disaster”.

“I’ve just heard rumours and will need to watch what happens. I have no idea what’s going on,” one beneficiary said.

Another beneficiary said she felt stressed. “I don’t know what I’ll do without the payment on 1 April.”

Cabinet is expected to discuss the looming social grants crisis during a special meeting next week.

In 2014 the Constitutional Court ruled the Cash Paymaster Services contract was unlawful.

Since then, Sassa has failed to institutionalise payouts or find a new service provider.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)