SOUTH AFRICA -The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has processed 5,000 applications for pensions from men aged between 63 and 64 since the new Social Assistance Amendment Act came into effect on 14 July.
Zola Skweyiya, minister of social development, said: "Since they could not obtain the old age grant, most men in need tended to apply for the disability grant. Over 36,000 cases have now been converted from the disability grant to the old age grant.
"We are expecting at least 120,000 men to come and apply for this grant by the end of the financial year. In this way, we will have contributed substantially to the fight against poverty.''
The old age grant is currently paid out to 2.2 million people every month and each person obtains ZAR940 (US$122) a month.
Last July, Global Pensions reported leading figures in the South African pensions industry had called for confidence to be restored in the country's pensions system, following a series of scandals (www.globalpensions.com; 18 July 2008).
Anne-Marie Dalton, chief executive officer of the Principal Officers Association of South Africa, said at the time the retirement industry was in the midst of a serious in-depth and comprehensive reform process which brought its own uncertainties and challenges.
She said confidence could be restored through proactive and timely intervention by the regulator.
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