A Pick n Pay till point.
  • Special Covid-19 grants will be paid out at retail tills for the first time on Wednesday.
  • Pick n Pay says it will be the first retailer to offer cash collection of the special relief of distress (SRD) payments.
  • Recipients will be pre-assigned to the stores, and Pick n Pay has urged beneficiaries to check their collection point before arriving in stores.
  • Boxer stores are included, but BP Pick n Pay Express, Pick n Pay Clothing and Pick n Pay Liquor stores will not be paying out grants.
  • Retailers have kept a close eye on the SRD payments, which have been touted as a pilot for a basic income grant.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

On Wednesday, 22 September, retail stores will for the first time make cash payments to beneficiaries of South Africa's R350 special relief of distress (SRD) grants linked to Covid-19.

The Pick n Pay group said on Tuesday that its stores, including those under the Boxer brand, would handle payments at till points, much as they do with pension, disability, and child-care grants on behalf of the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa).

The grant was initially intended as a short-lived emergency measure, to alleviate the pressure of lockdowns related to Covid-19. It is now touted as a pilot study of sorts for a basic income grant (BIG), with calls for it to be considerably hiked to R585 a month.

The recent Green Paper on Comprehensive Social security and Retirement Reform – since disavowed by the government – proposed a universal basic income grant, on the basis that it would be logistically easy to roll out in a matter of months, while a means-tested conditional grant would be much harder to handle.

See also | New govt proposal: Pay every South African an income grant, then tax it back from the rich

That raises the prospects that every South African would receive a monthly payment, with many millions likely to seek payment in cash. And that, in turn, has retailers hoping to see some of that money spent in their stores watching the process closely.

"Beneficiaries should note that Pick n Pay and Boxer do not manage the application and approval of grant funds, or when and where collections can be made. This is a process run entirely by Postbank," said Pick n Pay in a statement. 

"Only grant recipients who have received an SMS from SASSA confirming their collection pay-out point as either Pick n Pay or Boxer can use the new collections points."

Recipients are required to take their identity documents and cellphones to till points. Entering their ID numbers will trigger a USSD message on their phones, which they must approve, before the money will be handed over. 

Payments will not be made at BP Pick n Pay Express, Pick n Pay Clothing and Pick n Pay Liquor stores.

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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