Don’t confuse a social grant with a pension – SASSA

Some 900 people in Walvis Bay are affected by a decision of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) not to pay monthly South African social grants any more to South Africans living in Walvis Bay (and for that matter Namibia).

People were informed accordingly during a public meeting on Wednesday at the Walvis Bay town hall. It nonetheless, lead to confusion among many. People mistakenly saw the monthly social grant paid as a monthly pension they receive from the South African Government. The monthly amount they received were a social grant only. Social grants by SASSA is not confined to old age grants only, but also include grants to other vulnerable groups like the disabled.

Since 1994 many South Africans renounced their South African citizenship and became Namibian citizens by naturalisation.

Although there was an agreement reached between South Africa and Namibia in 1994 at re-integration that these people would continue to receive a monthly social grant, it was halted recently after SASSA obtained a legal opinion in this regard.

To receive a social grant from SASSA the beneficiary needs to be a South African citizen, physically residing in South Africa. The beneficiary also needs to have a 13-digit bar coded South African identity number. To qualify for the old age grant, the beneficiary needs to be 60 years and older.

These criteria effectively disqualified all beneficiaries who received the social grants living in Walvis Bay and for that matter in the rest of Namibia.

Note: The South African monthly social grant that was stopped for pensioners in Walvis Bay must not be confused with the ordinary monthly pensions former South Africans living in Namibia receive as part of their paid-up Government pension fund scheme they belonged to when they were still in the employment of South African government departments in Walvis Bay. Also, not to be confused with private institutions pension funds South Africans belonged to when they were working for South African companies in Walvis Bay before re-integration.


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