This year the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) is celebrating 10 years of service.
Acting Director-General and CEO designate of Sassa Thokozani Magwaza said that as part of the celebrations the organisation will reflect on its failures and successes.
One such success is that 17 million people are receiving social grants.
Magwaza said that although this is positive, the agency still struggles to get people to register to for social grants.
“We are told that two million children from the age of zero to three years are not accessing social grants.”
He added that his department was registering about 300 000 new applicants for social grants each year and that soon the organisation would go on an educational drive to inform people that in terms of the Constitution they have the right to access grants.
One of the challenges facing the Sassa is the deductions that are made on social grants.
Magwaza, who is the chairperson of the Ministerial task team that is looking at deductions on social grants, said the Department of Social Development was against the deduction of airtime, water and electricity, amongst others, from social grants.
“The amount that government is paying is meant to push the frontiers of poverty. It cannot be done in any other way. The law has always indicated that this money should not be touched.”
Magwaza said the department has come up with amendments to the policy that. No deductions are allowed except for 10 percent for a funeral benefit.
“The department says 10 percent for one policy. What we have found that people have two or three family policies and sometimes they exceed this 10 percent.”
Sassa is also boosting its efforts to fight fraud and corruption.
“We have established an inspectorate that we are busy trying to finalise. We already have staff members appointed in the inspectorate to operationalise. We want to stop fraud and corruption at Sassa.”