People with green ID books struggle with SASSA’s new process

Thousands of Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant beneficiaries with green ID books have been struggling to access their funds due to South African Social Security Agency’s (SASSA) new identity verification process.


GroundUp reports that beneficiaries of the R370 monthly SRD grant may not successfully complete the new SASSA identity verification process if they still have a green ID book.

This comes after SASSA introduced a new biometric verification through facial recognition to reduce fraud.

SASSA revealed to the publication on Wednesday, 25 June that grant beneficiaries with old greed ID books have a higher chance of not being successful.

“Grant recipients with the old green ID book have a higher chance of having an unsuccessful verification when doing the facial biometrics. Although it’s not essential to have a smart ID”.

The organisation adds that this is caused by the poorer quality of photos in the green book. SRD beneficiaries have since complained about not accessing their R370 grant due to the new identity verification process.

SRD beneficiaries who change or want to change their cell numbers must undergo SASSA’s biometric ID verification. They receive an SMS with a link where they have to take a clear photo of their face and send it back.

They later receive a notification which reveals whether the process was successful or not. Beneficiaries who may have committed identity theft or are victims of identity theft are also expected to go through this process.

SASSA spokesperson, Paseka Letsatsi says if this biometric test fails, they will need to get a new ID which includes advanced biometric features.


My Broadband reveals that the Department of Home Affairs has announced plans to phase out South Africa’s green ID books after introducing the smart ID card a decade ago.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi confirms to e.tv that his department would soon announce that South Africa’s old green ID books were no longer valid.

“We want to do away with the green barcode ID. We think it’s long enough that we’ve kept dual identity documents.”

“Very soon, we will make an announcement that we will keep one, and the other (green barcode) becomes invalid,” says Motsoaledi.

Smart IDs cards contain a microchip that stores a citizen’s data, such as biometric information. The cards are only available to people born in South Africa and not naturalised citizens.

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