Sassa spokesperson denies there is a problem, but officials speaking anonymously say otherwise.
Almost a week after the payment date for the child support grant, many recipients have not yet received their money for January.
Many people nationwide have complained to organisations #PayTheGrants and Black Sash that their grants have been suspended, seemingly for little or no reason. It appears that some old-age grant recipients have also been affected.
The child support grant is R510 a month, and 65% of children in South Africa receive the grant.
The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) denies that there was anything exceptional about January’s payment run. Sassa says that grants are suspended every month for recipients who fail bank verification processes or are declared dead by the Department of Home Affairs.
“This is a monthly process that is conducted as part of the pre-payment process and not just specific to the month of January 2024,” Sassa spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi told GroundUp.
But Elizabeth Raiters, who heads up the helpdesk at #PayTheGrants, says that Sassa officials confirmed to her earlier on Tuesday that there was a “system error” and that the matter is being resolved. However, it is unclear whether recipients will receive their money before the next payment run in February.
Raiters said she had a meeting with over 100 affected recipients in Eldorado Park on Monday evening. She estimates that thousands have been affected nationwide.
“It is very bad for beneficiaries,” said Raiters. “Children have to go back to school, and now the parents can’t buy food or stationery.”
Black Sash Western Cape coordinator Thandi Hanekom also told GroundUp there has been an uptick in reports of erroneous suspensions.
This has also been confirmed by a Sassa official at a branch in Gqeberha, speaking to GroundUp anonymously.
GroundUp visited branch offices in Mitchells Plain (Cape Town) and Kariega (Nelson Mandela Bay), where grant recipients lined up to reapply after their grants were suspended.
According to Raiters, grants have been suspended for “ridiculous reasons”, which have never presented problems before. For example, she said, some grants were suspended because recipients had two names on their bank statements but three on their identity documents.
Sassa’s national payment system has experienced several problems over the past two years. In September, thousands of social grant recipients were left without money after a “technical glitch” disrupted payment into the accounts of recipients who use Sassa Gold cards.