Pretoria – Service delivery improvement and the development of a new payment model are among the initiatives to be implemented by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) in the next five years.
Addressing the media on Thursday on her plans to stabilise the agency, new SASSA CEO Virginia Peterson acknowledged the agency still faced challenges, including long queues in the pay point stations, saying the agency would have to look at suitable places for people to be paid.
“We need to look at where to put people to render services, [and whether] it’s suitable for people to be paid as well as the staff, where they are placed,” said Peterson.
Being in the new position for only 12 days, Peterson said her job was to fix what’s not working at SASSA, adding that her aim was to process renewing of grants, spruce up the payment system, and detect the vulnerability and risks.
Other priorities for SASSA in the next five years will include finalising the current payment tender, audit improvement plan and automation of business processes.
Peterson announced that the agency has advertised a tender payment contract, which closes on 15 June 2011. She also noted that in November 2010, a total of 37 percent of payments were made via banks.
“In 2009, SASSA signed an agreement with the South African Post Office to assist beneficiaries open banking accounts so that their grants could be deposited into them,” said Peterson.
Currently, SASSA has approximately 10.1 million recipients and 14.6 beneficiaries that get paid monthly via commercial banks as well as cash payment contractors at pay points.
In the 2009/2010 financial year, SASSA received a disclaimer and out of 2 160 beneficiary files selected for audit purposes, 70 could not be presented to the Auditor-General because they were filed using a manual system and were difficult to retrieve.
“During the four years of its existence, SASSA had to put a system in place while simultaneously having to ensure that beneficiaries are not compromised by system failures interrupting regular payment of their monthly grants,” said Peterson. – BuaNews