Widespread complaint over SASSA biometric verification

Widespread complaint over SASSA biometric verification

As reported by The South African back in May 2024, SASSA biometric verification was introduced to help stop grant fraud. Specifically in the region of Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grants which are enacted online only. As a result, the South African Social Security Agency wanted to beef up security in the face of increasing fraudulent claims.

SASSA BIOMETRIC VERIFICATION

SASSA biometric verification was former Minister Lindiwe Zulu’s brainchild. But she’s out of a job. Image: File

As we know, South Africa delivers the most social welfare to its citizens on the African continent. In fact, the African National Congress (ANC) has trumpeted its ‘pro-poor’ policies – with Stats SA recently revealing that one out of every two households in Mzansi receives some form of government grant. And that doesn’t even account for the ill-gotten grants people are pocketing nefariously.

That’s where SASSA biometric verification comes into the equation. The system’s announcement was departing Social Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu’s last act in office. She, and a host more ANC Members of Parliament (MPs), are no longer required in the ten-party 2024 Government of National Unity.  

PLAGUED BY COMPLAINTS

The expectation that people living below the poverty line will have access to a smartphone and internet is pretty short-sighted. Image: File

Nevertheless, GroundUp reports that the new SASSA biometric verification technology is failing many grant recipients. A civil rights group call #PayTheGrants says thousands of beneficiaries have complained about the SASSA biometric verification process. The tech was introduced to fight fraud and corruption, however, beneficiaries simply cannot access their funds.

The organisation says it has received thousands of complaints across South Africa. Any beneficiary of the grant who changes their mobile number has to undergo biometric ID verification. Likewise, any account suspended due to identity theft or linked to any nefarious activity must also undergo SASSA biometric verification. Grant beneficiaries who find themselves in this position must do the following:

Contact the agency to receive an SMS verification link.

At the link, you’re prompted to take a photo of your face and submit it.

A notification about the biometric verification’s success is then sent back to you.

ONLY WORKS ON SMARTPHONES

Check out details of the next SASSA SRD payment run. Image: SASSA

However, beneficiaries who don’t have a smartphone or access to the internet can’t do anything about SASSA biometric verification. And therefore cannot recitify any suspended accounts. Remember, the R370 SRD payout came about during the COVID-19 pandemic and is for people with zero means of income. #PayTheGrants says there has been a lack of communication from the agency about how the verification process works.

To apply for Social Relief of Distress and join the approximately 10-million residents who receive the monthly stipend, you must do the following:

Visit the SASSA SRD portal HERE.

Input your cell phone number and click Send SMS.

Enter the 6-digit OTP number sent to your phone and click Verify Pin.

Submit your South African ID number or Special Permit Number.

Provide personal details to get onto the system – Name, Surname, Address, and Gender.

Enter your banking details – Bank Name, Branch, Account Type, and Number).

The Department of Home Affairs will verify your details on its database, upon which you will receive confirmation on your cell phone that your SASSA SRD grant is active. The next payment run starts on Wednesday 26 June and goes till Saturday 29 June 2024.

HAVE YOUR SAY

Let us know what you think about SASSA biometric verification. Have you been able to use it? Image: Duncan P Walker

Do you think SASSA biometric verification is useful to stop fraud or is it hindering those without smartphones from accessing their grants? Be sure to share your thoughts with our audience in the comments section below. And don’t forget to follow us @TheSANews on X and The South African on Facebook for the latest updates.