NATIONAL NEWS - The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) will pay social grants to older persons and persons with disabilities on 30 and 31 March.
Other beneficiaries will be able to access their grants from 1 April.
The social security agency's decision to pay grants earlier is in response to the State of National Disaster as announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 15 March.
In a press statement released on 19 March, Sassa informed beneficiaries of the steps to be taken to ensure their health when collecting their monthly payments, as well as during any visits to Sassa and Sapo (South African Post Office) venues.
The main aim of the measures is to help keep beneficiaries healthy by limiting their contact with other members of the public, who could be infectious.
Beneficiaries are urged to not collect their payments at outlets on payment days, due to the high pedestrian traffic at shopping malls and other outlets. Beneficiaries' money will be paid into their accounts and will be available any day of the month. All ICROP programmes are suspended with immediate effect, as most of the outreach programmes are attended by more than 100 people (including children and the elderly).
All home, clinic and hospital visits by Sassa officials are suspended with immediate effect. "Clients above 75 years who are bedridden can apply to have a procurator or proxy.
The chosen procurator must be appointed in writing and produce that letter together with all their documents including identity card so that the application can be processed."
The number of people allowed into waiting locales, as well as at cash pay points, will be kept under 100, depending on the size of the venue. Adequate space and ventilation between people will be maintained.
For simple enquiries, clients should phone Sassa and Sapo on their toll-free customer care numbers or utilise social media platforms. All these channels will be monitored closely to give clients the best service. At pay points, staff will constantly keep clients informed of the process. "Hand sanitisers will also be provided, especially in areas where water is limited."
At post office outlets, all the above measures will also apply. "Extra outlets will be provided to ensure that there is no overcrowding, and to increase the speed of service to clients."
Sassa staff dealing directly with clients will be provided with protective kits to safeguard their health. Protective kits are being delivered in batches to all Sassa offices. All offices that have received their protective kits will be open during office hours.
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