Source: Talk of the Town
The SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) has warned the public not to be duped by a fake e-mail doing its rounds in which an “official” calls for people to contact its offices regarding a tender for the three-year supply of food parcels in the Free State.
Sassa spokesperson Sandy Godlwana told TimesLIVE that the agency was concerned that members of the public “will find themselves having to pay money with the hope that they will get the tender, where this is fake and a scam”.
The fake correspondence has been sent in the name of Sassa regional executive manager Themba Matlou.
“This misinformation is devoid of truth and is tantamount to causing chaos and anarchy which may lead to unrest and the undesirable consequence of damage to government property,” said Matlou in a statement issued on Monday night.
“The process to appoint service providers has just started and is only an evaluation process. Successful bidders will be duly contacted through proper channels at an appropriate time.
“The agency warns all bidders against this scam and any other bid where people purport to take money claiming they are from Sassa.
“The social relief programme is intended to assist to meet basic needs of indigent persons by means of rendering temporary and immediate material assistance in response to a crisis.We are working around the clock to ensure that suitable service providers are appointed in line with Sassa supply chain prescripts,” he said.
By Phillip de Wet for Business Insider SA
None of the channels set up to accept applications for the special Covid-19 unemployment grant of R350 work reliably – and some do not work at all.
The R350 grants, formally know as Social Relief of Distress (SRD) payments, are due to be paid starting on 15 May – for those registered in time – and will run until October, for a total of R2 100 due to recipients. Up to six million South Africans are believed to be eligible.
The SA Social Security Agency’s website is not available, its WhatsApp system is not responsive, and its email system is unusable on most platforms.
A promised SMS system does not appear to be in place, and there is no sign of a Facebook Messenger channel.
But if you stay up late enough, USSD will eventually work, our testing shows.
There’s a workaround, however, and that is to go directly to https://srd.sassa.gov.za/sc19/auth
No physical applications are accepted at Sassa offices, and though the agency and its minister has promised fieldworkers will go out to those without access to technology, that is not yet happening.
By Kaylynn Palm for EWN
May’s SASSA payments were marred by glitches as some grant beneficiaries were not paid, and others were paid twice following a technical glitch.
Those pensioners and people with disabilities were expecting to receive funds on Monday but would now have to wait until Tuesday afternoon.
However, about 83% of the beneficiaries scheduled to be paid on Monday got double pay-outs because of the error.
The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) said more than 400 000 clients were affected by duplicate payments.
While some received double payments, others were left with nothing to draw.
“We are appealing to clients to please allow us time to rectify the situation. Funds will be available in the accounts by tomorrow [Tuesday] afternoon,” said Western Cape SASSA spokesperson Shivani Wahab.
SASSA advised clients to leave the extra payments in their account so that banks could reverse the payments.
Those who withdrew it would not be paid in June.
The South African Post Office (SAPO) has officially joined the scramble to replace Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) as the country’s social grants distributor amid an ongoing crisis over the payment of beneficiaries.
CEO Mark Barnes has submitted an affidavit dated March 13 to the Constitutional Court as part of the Post Office’s application to be admitted as a friend of the court in the Black Sash vs Sassa matter due to be heard on Wednesday.
In the court papers, Barnes states that using the Post Office would “serve the national interest, protect beneficiaries’ information and support government’s ambitions for radical socio-economic transformation”.
Barnes has proposed two alternative systems to solve the crisis, including one that could be implemented within days. However, another long-term plan would need to include CPS.
The South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) is under more pressure to find a solution after CPS said it would not be able to pay social grants from April 1 if an agreement is not reached by Thursday.
Read the article here: If there’s no new contract by Thursday, grants may not be paid
Barnes states in the papers that the Post Office had already submitted an emergency backup solution to Sassa on March 1 in case CPS pulled out of the payment of grants to 17 million beneficiaries.
It says it can step in by using an electronic voucher system already used to pay staff employed at the department of public works in the Eastern Cape.
The Post Office said the system can be up and running within days, ruling out the need to extend the CPS contract that expires on March 31.
“Pay points would include SAPO branches as well as the 10 000 locations managed by the current cash-in-transit service provider. Identity documents and identity cards would be checked to ensure that the right people are paid the right grants after comparing to Sassa’s SOCPEN database,” Barnes states in the affidavit.
However, Barnes’ long-term solution that would meet the Sassa requirements would need CPS to assist for a maximum of twelve months as the Post Office prepares to take over.
The Post Office would need CPS to provide the biometric system, personnel that could be retained or replaced over time and cash dispensing machines owned by CPS.
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has insisted on a biometric system, arguing that it guards against fraud and has saved the fiscus R2bn. She said the system ensures that the right beneficiary is paid the right grant and proves the beneficiary is still alive.
‘State organ should have first preference’
Barnes proposes that the Auditor General monitor the 12-month handover period, with quarterly reports submitted to the court.
Barnes said the Post Office would charge R20 per beneficiary. CPS is currently charging R16.44 per beneficiary, an amount that is expected to increase if a new interim contract is signed.
Barnes argues in the court papers that the Post Office as a state organ should have first preference as a service provider.
“Where an organ of state is able to provide services, it is suggested that such services should first be procured from organs of state prior to the invitation being sent out to the public.
“The procurement of such services from the state-owned entities, where it is possible, is in the national interest and is fiscally prudent,” Barnes states in his affidavit.
However, Sassa and Dlamini have previously argued that the Post Office has only 2 567 outlets that are predominately in urban areas while the current system offers 10 000 outlets, mostly in rural areas. The two also said their norms and standards state that beneficiaries should not travel more than 5km to a pay point.
By Mahlatse Gallens for News24