The Post Office Will Stop Giving Cash To Recipients Of SASSA Grants. Cash has long served as a convenient means for individuals to make purchases or cover expenses. However, a recent announcement from the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) reveals a significant change for grant beneficiaries.
End of Cash Withdrawals at Post Offices
Sassa, in collaboration with the Postbank, declared that grant recipients will no longer have the option to withdraw cash at Post Offices, effective January next year. This decision impacts 19 million permanent grants, including pensions, disability grants, and various other forms of support.
Phasing Out Cash Payment Points (CPPs)
In a joint statement, Sassa and the Postbank outlined a plan to gradually phase out all physical cash payment points, including cash withdrawal services at Post Offices. The transition, starting in January and concluding by March 2024, aims to ensure continuity in payments while addressing security and capacity challenges.
Background and Strategy
The decision to discontinue cash payments was initially disclosed in 2018, part of a broader strategy to reduce cash-in-transit heists, address unfavorable conditions at CPP sites, and overcome capacity challenges at the Post Office.
Services Retained at Post Offices
While cash payments will cease, Post Office branches will continue offering non-cash services such as card reinsurances, PIN resets, and statement printing.
Alternative Cash Withdrawal Options
Despite the change, Sassa grant beneficiaries can still withdraw cash at ATMs or specific retailers like Boxer, Pick N Pay, Spar, Shoprite, Usave, and Checkers.
Usage of Sassa Gold Cards
Sassa gold cardholders using CPPs and Post Office branches must now utilize their cards at any place accepting bank cards. This includes making purchases at retailers with point-of-sale systems or withdrawing funds at retailers offering cash-back functionality.
Impact on Beneficiaries
While Sassa suggests that 98% of grant beneficiaries already use alternative methods, critics, including the Black Sash organization, argue that the decision lacks proper research and consideration. Concerns include increased transport costs, delays at alternative payment sites, and withdrawal fees.
Post Office Financial Struggles
This announcement aligns with the Post Office’s financial challenges, reporting a R6 billion loss over the past three years. The business rescue plan involves closing 420 loss-making branches, retrenching 6,000 employees, and potentially receiving a R3.8 billion government bailout.
Sassa Gold Card Validity
Contrary to concerns, Sassa gold cards will not expire in December 2023 and will remain fully valid and operational in 2024, ensuring continued access for grant beneficiaries.