Government explains how it ended up ‘paying’ grants to 200,000 dead beneficiaries

Over 200,000 deceased beneficiaries received grants over the last 22 months, says social development minister Lindiwe Zulu.

Answering in a written parliamentary Q&A this week, Zulu said that the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) is responsible for comparing grants data against the Department of Home Affairs’ population register before the payments are extracted for the following month.

“All deaths that have been registered with the Department of Home Affairs result in the payment not being extracted. However, deaths that are reported late, or after the extraction date will result in payments for the specific beneficiary being extracted,” she said.

Data provided by Zulu shows that between 1 January 2020 – 31 October 2021, a total of 214,344 vouchers were erroneously extracted after the death of the beneficiary.

However, she noted that this does not necessarily reflect the numbers actually paid out as, in some cases, the money paid had already been recovered, or returned to SASSA by the post office, she said.

The total number of vouchers for the R350 social relief of distress grant extracted after the death of the beneficiary over the same period was 59,089.

“Again, this is the total number of vouchers extracted, but the actual number paid out will only be known on receipt of the full reconciliation from the South African Post Office,” Zulu said.

“This information is not grant-specific, but linked to a beneficiary, who may receive more than one grant. Further analysis is required to be able to specify this by grant type,” she said.

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Government explains how it ended up ‘paying’ grants to 200,000 dead beneficiaries