Social Development Minister Susan Shabangu has encouraged about 200‚000 grant recipients to turn in their old social security cards.
Shabangu said the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) was on track to ensure that the payment of 17-million social grants‚ to 12.5-million recipients‚ would be carried out by the South African Post Office (Sapo) from October 1.
She said that since mid-May‚ Sassa and the post office had been swapping social grant beneficiaries’ Cash Paymaster Services/Grindrod cards for the new Sassa/Sapo cards.
Shabangu said Sassa had replaced about 5.5-million old cards with the new Sassa gold cards. She said Sassa was only left with about 200‚000 cards that needed to be exchanged.
"By the end of September and for the payments of October grants‚ we will be able to meet the obligations as set out in the Constitutional Court order‚" Shabangu said.
She said that remaining grant recipients with old cards would be given new cards during September. Shabangu said Sapo would also take over the payment of cash to those recipients who were unable to withdraw cash from ATMs or merchants.
Sassa has in the past few months been in the process of phasing out Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) and phasing in Sapo in the paying out of grants.
In 2014‚ the Constitutional Court declared that a grant payment contract that Sassa concluded with CPS was invalid. The court suspended this order until April 2017‚ to ensure that Sassa got another contractor or undertook to make the payments itself.
The court extended the invalid contract for another 12 months in March 2017 and for a further six months until the end of September 2018 because Sassa was not ready to get a new contractor.
"We are making real progress under a very short span of time. Problems we experienced in the payment of grants in July have been sorted‚" Shabangu said at a media briefing on Friday.
She said the department had asked Sapo to take over the cash payments of grants to about 2.8-million recipients who were unable to access cash from ATMs or merchants.
"By the end of September‚ we will be doing all cash payments through Sapo‚" Shabangu said.