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Sassa wants to phase out cash grant payments over security concerns

The grants agency has already started slashing its pay points and wants to transfer thousands of beneficiaries to other payment methods like commercial banks and the Post Office.

Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) says it wants to do away with cash grant payments completely because it's neither safe nor sustainable.

Sassa has already started slashing its pay points and wants to transfer thousands of beneficiaries to other payment methods like commercial banks and the Post Office.

The agency has on Wednesday told Parliament it will still, however, consider extreme measures to reach beneficiaries in remote, rural areas.

In the wake of cancelling a tender for the cash payment of social grants, Sassa says it's working all out to reduce the number of beneficiaries who receive grants in cash.

It plans to close down almost 5,000 pay points by August, leaving just over 3,000 operational. It also wants to reduce the number of beneficiaries who receive their grants at these pay points from around two million currently to less than 800,000 over the next three months.

Acting chief executive Abraham Mahlangu says cash payments are risky to the agency and unsafe for beneficiaries.

“There’s been an upsurge of cash-in-transit activities in the country. We cannot turn a blind eye to that. It will take one mad criminal to throw a bomb in the cash pay point assembly point.”

For now, Sassa plans to use mobile cash machines to reach beneficiaries who live more than 20 kilometres from a pay point.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)

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