Sassa denies racial profiling and withholding R350 social relief grant payments

31 August 2021 - 09:00 By unathi nkanjeni
The SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) has denied claims of racial profiling regarding distribution of the R350 social relief grant. File photo.
The SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) has denied claims of racial profiling regarding distribution of the R350 social relief grant. File photo.
Image: South African Gov‏ via Twitter

The SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) has denied claims of racial profiling when paying out the R350 social relief of distress grant. 

This comes after several applicants accused the agency of racial discrimination, saying minority racial groups were not getting paid, despite being approved every month.

Speaking to TimesLIVE, Sassa spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi denied the claims, saying the agency does not profile applicants to disadvantage certain race groups. 

“Sassa does not discriminate against anyone, as the R350 is meant for those who are unemployed,” he said. 

“We view this slanderous allegation in a serious light and urge anyone with such a view to report the matter to the authorities.”

Last week, Sassa released a list of people who have not yet collected their R350 social relief of distress grant payments from the previous cycle, warning they would forfeit if the funds were not collected by the end of Tuesday. 

However, some applicants accused Sassa of “intentionally” making it difficult for them to claim the money so that it was sent back to the government.

Responding to these claims, Letsatsi said there was no intention to withhold payments from beneficiaries.

“Sassa has been communicating with affected beneficiaries through different platforms, including SMS, to remind them to collect their benefits at post offices and unfortunately, some have either lost the numbers they used to apply with or they were using one number as a group,” he said.

Letsatsi had earlier pleaded with the social relief grant recipients to not flock to post offices to collect their payments before receiving an SMS. 

He told SABC News that applicants who went to the post office without an SMS from Sassa would not be assisted.

“We want to emphasise to applicants that if you did not give us your banking details, please do not go to a post office if you don’t have an SMS from Sassa that states the grant has been approved,” said Letsatsi. 

“If you go to a post office because your neighbour told you they received their SMS, you won’t be assisted.” 

The SA Post Office (Sapo) also warned beneficiaries not to fall for a scam promising to get them a spot in line.

In a statement sent to TimesLIVE on Monday, it said it had “become aware of instances where self-appointed queue marshals ask customers who visit their branches a fee for a place in the front of the queue”.  

Sapo said this is illegal, and charges may be brought against those responsible.


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