2024 SASSA beneficiaries feeling smart ID card stress

The South African Social Security Agency has dropped a bombshell on 2024 SASSA beneficiaries. If you don’t currently have a smart ID card you may not pass biometric verification. Ousted Minister Lindiwe Zulu’s last action in office was to approve new high-tech biometric verification software for 2024 SASSA beneficiaries. This was aimed to stop corruption and fraud in its tracks after millions of Rands were paid to ‘long-dead accounts’.

However, it is now proving a headache the new Minister Sisisi Tolashe could do without. As she settles into an office that controls one of the largest government department budgets of all, thousands of 2024 SASSA beneficiaries are complaining they have been booted out of the social welfare system with no way to get back in.


Many 2024 SASSA beneficiaries are unable to complete biometric verification. Image: File

These struggles centre primarily around the R370 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant. And a new biometric identity verification process which requires a smartphone and internet access, reports GroundUp. Last month, SASSA said grant recipients without a smart ID card would have a higher chance of ‘unsuccessful verification’ when using the system. This is due to poor quality and old ID photos used in the ‘green-mamba’ ID booklets.

As a result of the disruption to 2024 SASSA beneficiaries, we have been inundated with complaints from people unable to get their monthly stipend. 2024 SASSA beneficiaries who want/need to change their mobile numbers/personal details must undergo a biometric ID verification. At the same time, SASSA accounts suspected of fraudulent behaviour are expected to do the same to reactivate. If you find yourself in this scenario you will be sent an SMS with a link prompting you to take a clear photo of your face for the agency to confirm it is you.


2024 SASSA beneficiaries
Just one example of how the photo process can fail. Image: File

Sadly, there are many reasons the biometric process can fail. Even if you get hold of a smartphone, you may not have sufficient internet access/airtime. The photo you take may not be correctly framed or lit. Nevertheless, SASSA’s Paseka Letsatsi says if the biometric test fails, one solution is to go apply for a new smart ID card from the Department of Home Affairs. SASSA uses the Home Affairs database to verify identity with facial recognition software.

R370 SRD grants are withheld until the applicant confirms their identity through the facial recognition software. In response, #PayTheGrants’ Elizabeth Raiters criticised SASSA for failing to adequately explain these changes to its millions of beneficiaries. The rollout of new technology came as a surprise to many and most are only learning of the requirement now. Understandably, this has caused panic among many SRD beneficiaries who are unlikely to be able to apply and get a smart ID before the next payment date. They will therefore have to start the SRD application process again from scratch.


2024 SASSA beneficiaries
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Image: File

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