South Africa: Social Grants – New System, New Problems

Every month, South Africa’s 10.9-million social grant recipients used to pick up their funds from a pay point administered by Cash Paymaster Services (CPS). CPS is now history, and beneficiaries have to collect their money from the Post Office, banks or shops. The results of this shift, a new study will find, have been ‘devastating’.

Long queues. Security issues. Increased travel costs. Being turned away empty-handed because no money is available.

These are just some of the challenges affecting the millions of South Africans who rely on social grants for their livelihoods when they attempt to claim their monthly payments.

Until late 2018, the 10.9-million social grant beneficiaries in South Africa had a fairly simple way of collecting the money every month. They were given a South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) card, which could be used at dedicated pay points provided by Cash Paymaster Services (CPS).

The service was far from perfect – even leaving aside the Constitutional Court’s ruling that the CPS contract was unlawful, and continued to be unlawfully extended on the watch of former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini. Of primary concern was the exploitation of social grant beneficiaries, with advocacy group the Black Sash lobbying…


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