Social grant paydays always present a nightmare to millions of beneficiaries like Kholofelo Kgafane of Mamatsha village in the Capricorn District of Limpopo – but this may soon change.
The SA Post Office (SAPO) began a drive to roll-out 10 000 cashless ATMs in the village on Friday – and Kgafane was among the first to use the facility at the FFF General Dealer store.
Assisted by storekeeper Dorah Vasyat, she slotted her card into the device which looks like a pay point machine and carefully punched in her pin.
The device spewed out a receipt which she took and carefully inspected. Vasyat took another one for her records and handed Kgafane notes of cash from her sales that morning.
Other elderly citizens also turned up to withdraw cash. Uncertain about how the device operates, they asked probing questions.
Can I withdraw all my money? If I don’t withdraw all of it, can I still access it elsewhere or be able to use my card to pay at other stores?
SA Social Security Agency (SASSA) and SAPO staff were fortunately on site to help assist both the beneficiaries and the store staff perfect operation of the machine.
SAPO said the devices will be placed in spaza shops and other business outlets in townships and rural areas.
Chairperson of the SAPO board Colleen Makhubele said they will also encourage SASSA beneficiaries to utilise the devices in their areas to avoid long queues and for convenience.
Makhubele said the initiative will help to stimulate local economic development as merchants like Vasyat will earn passive income from transaction fees. She said this initiative will also help in efforts to flatten the covid-19 curve.
She said they want to target the rural and township economies through the initiative. Makhubele said they will identify business outlets to rollout the devices through the databases of local economic development in municipalities.
Vasyat said apart from the initiative will help bring business to her store as the beneficiaries can now purchase items directly from her store using the device.
Although many rural villages face the challenge of erratic network connectivity, Vasyat has the added advantage of a wi-fi system that ensures fast connectivity.
Makhubele said working together with municipalities they will initiate an awareness drive to assist beneficiaries to understand that they don’t have to withdraw all their cash at once. She says they will help store owners like to build cash reserves and also find ways of ensuring they have enough cash to dispense.
Kgafane said previously, in order to beat the long queues at paypoints and bank teller machines and also beat the rush to do shopping for essentials, she like millions of people who receive social grants had to rise long before dawn to travel by taxi to Turfloop about 20km away.
Mamatsha is typical of many of the country’s rural villages where there are no amenities such as ATMs, banks or large grocery stores. This leaves SASSA beneficiaries with no choice but to spend money on transport and spend lots of time either standing in queues or travelling to pay points. This new initiative may just be what could help ease the challenges that exist. – Mukurukuru Media