Question NW983 to the Minister of Social Development

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08 April 2021 - NW983

Profile picture: Opperman, Ms G

Opperman, Ms G to ask the Minister of Social Development

(1)Whether, with reference to the Temporary Disability Grant that lapsed in December 2020, all recipients who have not had access to a doctor for assessment received Social Relief of Distress grants of R500 for the past 2 months; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details (2) with reference to the many persons in the Northern Cape who lost the opportunity to see a SA Social Security Agency (SASSA) doctor for assessment and therefore had their last payment on 2 December 2020, what assistance is available to persons living with disabilities living on rural farms who have to travel in order to have access to health facilities and the SASSA doctors for assessment; (3) in light of the fact that millions of SASSA grants are paid to commercial banks monthly and a grant recipient pays up to R30 in bank costs, what are the reasons that total exemption on bank costs are not given on SASSA grants?


1. Not all clients whose temporary disability grants lapsed at the end of December 2020 were provided with SRD. The table below indicates the numbers of clients who received SRD:




Western Cape


Eastern Cape


Northern Cape


Free State




North West










Many clients came to the SASSA offices only once, for an assessment and as a result they were not provided with SRD because the complete process of assessment and application was completed within a short space of time. This included clients who were booked for an assessment telephonically or their bookings done through other alternative channels.

SRD was provided to clients where bookings with the SASSA doctor was beyond a period of two weeks or beyond the payment run for the normal social grants. Other factors taken into account included where delays for a booking were as a result of an assessment site having to close on the day of the booking due to Covid19 risk exposure.

SRD was therefore not automatic for every client. Clients assisted within reasonable turnaround times were not provided with SRD.

2. Clients in the Northern Cape who could not be assisted on time were provided with SRD. In the Northern Cape a total of 2 397 clients were provided with SRD.

In order to assist clients living on farms or in the remote areas, engagements with Traditional Leaders in different villages took place for them to assist with the handing out of referral forms, which SASSA would collect at an agreed place and time. This facilitated the booking for a medical assessment with one of the contracted doctors. A regional booking strategy was implemented to ensure that all clients had the opportunity to be booked for the assessment necessary prior to a grant application.

In addition, district staff did conduct home visits in the rural areas with the aim of ensuring access to services for these citizens.

3. SASSA as a public entity is unable to grant total exemption on bank costs. SASSA is unable to prescribe to the banks what their fee structures should be, because that environment is also highly regulated. What SASSA can negotiate with the banks is for banks to provide affordable products which are user friendly to social grant beneficiaries.

Attempts were made in 2017/18 for banks to agree to an account product subsidised by government but at that time, parties could not agree as banks were clear that they have existing products which are offered to social grant beneficiaries.

There are renewed engagements with the different stakeholders within government to consider the feasibility for subsidisation of the clients receiving their social grant money through the National Payment System. In addition, the banks are also being engaged to try and identify more cost effective options for social grant beneficiaries. The consultation processes are at an initial stage. SASSA will update all stakeholders as these negotiations progress.

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