The South African Post Office has announced it will no longer pay the R350 social relief of distress grant through its branches.
The national mail carrier said that this will help alleviate long queues at its branches, with South Africans having several other options to collect the money.
“The new round of applications for the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant has opened. The application app now includes an option where beneficiaries can receive their grant from any Pick n Pay, Boxer, Shoprite, Checkers or USave merchant. The SA Post Office strongly advises beneficiaries to include this option: Post Office branches will no longer pay out SRD grants.
“If you have already reapplied for your SRD grant, you can still select the option to collect your grant from any Pick n Pay, Boxer, Shoprite, Checkers or USave. Log on to srd.sassa.gov.za and respond to the security SMS you receive on your phone. You can then include merchants in your application and submit the updated application,” it said.
The post office noted beneficiaries must have their own cell number to withdraw their grant at supermarkets. It advised those without their own number to purchase a SIM card and use that number to apply for a grant.
“Beneficiaries will be assisted to reset card pins at the cash pay points. The card can then be used at merchants at ATMs.
“SASSA beneficiaries who receive old age, disability or child grants can still collect their grants from any Post Office branch.”
Data published by the Department of Social Development at the start of May shows almost half of all South Africans now rely on some financial support from the government.
The department said that about 31% of the South African population relies on social grants – which include everything from disability to childcare.
However, there are approximately 10 million beneficiaries who depend on the monthly R350 special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant alone. This increases the number of South Africans who rely on social transfers to about 47%, it said.
Data from Bloomberg and Old Mutual shows that the country currently has twice as many welfare beneficiaries as registered taxpayers. The government is now considering the feasibility of introducing a basic income grant in South Africa which is expected to widen the social safety net further.