The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) phased in the use of retail stores as alternative grant payment mechanism clients can use to access their money. Sassa furthermore explained that more clients receive their grants directly in their bank accounts than from Sapo branches.
Clients can collect their R350 grants at Pick N Pay, Shoprite, Boxer and Checkers stores. Overcrowding in retail stores was anticipated by Sassa due to this new payment system, but they believed it would ease over time.
The Department of Social Development's (DSD) Brenton van Vrede says the use of retail outlets to pay social grants will be a better system in the long run as opposed to relying solely on SAPO branches.
Van Vrede explained that the SAPO has struggled to render services at their branches and at cash pay points, which has affected around 5% of Sassa clients. While not every area has a retail outlet that distributes the R350 grant, they are present in most communities.
He added that Sassa has concluded an agreement with SPAR to disburse grants and is looking at doing so with PEP and Spaza shops in the future.
Sassa’s Dianne Dunkerley indicated that the agency's contract with SAPO for grant distributions does not have a specific end date because it is a government-to-government agreement. The agreement also does not have penalties for non-performance.
The agreement does contain an exit clause for when the conditions aren't met. Currently, Sassa is looking into several issues related to the agreement.