Can Mobile Money Save SASSA’s Grant Disbursement Challenges?


Social grants represent an important safety net for 17 million South Africans who often receive only one cheque in the course of the month. Yet, despite the vital function that grants play in the South African polity, disbursements have often been characterised by chaos and dysfunction. In early April 2020, the chaos unfortunately cost three pensioners their lives. This unnecessary tragedy calls for a profound rethinking of how grants are paid to senior citizens and the disabled as well as the relationship that they should have with the wider grant-payment complex. This paper suggests that grant beneficiaries do not have to walk the gauntlet every time they cash a cheque. In the age of digital technology, there are tried and tested hassle-free methods that can be used to process payments in a manner that does not violate beneficiaries’ bodies.


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Author: Dr. Roland Nkwain Ngam, Programme Manager for Climate Justice and Socio-ecological transformation at Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Southern Africa.