By Moabi Pitsi
Payment of grants got to a smooth start throughout the country this morning.
30 July 2018 | Media Release
The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) is ready for the August payment cycle at technical and human resource level. This comes after the July system got marred by system glitches that affected 700 000 of the 12 million beneficiaries that SASSA provides with social grants. The problem affected beneficiaries who use the new SASSA gold card.
Although SASSA had paid money into all the accounts, the beneficiaries could not withdraw their money due to a systems overload. The South African Post Office (SAPO) system could not handle the huge number of transactions that it had to process notwithstanding that tests had been done on the system. The good news is that all affected beneficiaries have now been paid for the July cycle.
To resolve this problem, SASSA sought the assistance of all institutions working in the banking sector of the economy. At the moment the infrastructure linking SAPO and the Bankserv payment clearing house has been massively optimized. The line speed used by SAPO to process transactions now has the capacity to process160 transactions per second.
Seven days a week, SASSA runs a campaign of swapping the old cards for the new SASSA gold card. The contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) comes to an end on 30 September. SASSA filed an application in the Concourt detailing how SASSA and SAPO staff were prevented from performing their card swap duties by CPS staff at paypoints recently. We are confident that the court will grant us relief, given the overwhelming evidence we presented. We hope these distractions won’t happen during the August payment cycle and beneficiaries will obtain their new SASSA cards without any hindrance.
SASSA is appealing to all beneficiaries in possession of the new SASSA gold cards not to visit cash pay points to claim their social grants during from 1 August to 30 September 2018 because the cards don’t use fingerprints to verify identity. These cards use a PIN and can be used at ATM’s, Post Offices and merchant stores.
Although funds become available from the 1st of every month, beneficiaries can choose any other date to withdraw their funds. The Acting CEO of SASSA, Mr Abraham Mahlangu, acknowledges the circumstances which prompt beneficiaries to want to access their social grants on the first day of the payment cycle. “We are acutely aware of the harsh financial realities of our times which drive beneficiaries to want to receive their grants on the first day. However, we urge our beneficiaries to withdraw their grant monies at their own convenient time as the payment cycle stretches over two weeks until the 15th of each month: Mahlangu said.
Beneficiaries should ensure that by the end of August, they have acquired the new SASSA card because the old one is expiring in September 2018. The new SASSA card is an improvement of the old card and it does not allow deductions for things such as airtime, loans or prepaid electricity among others. This new card also allows 3 free cash withdrawals at points of sale, one free withdrawal at the post office per month, free swipes at points of sale and it is accepted by all ATM’s displaying the VISA sign.
Beneficiaries with queries can contact SASSA toll free on 0800 60 10 11 or inbox SASSA on social media.
Issued on behalf of SASSA
Media queries: Paseka Letsatsi
082 883 9969
By Phaladi Seakgwe
SASSA Acting Chief Executive Officer Mr Abraham Mahlangu honored an invitation by Ilitha Labantu in Gugulethu, Cape Town to engage in a dialogue with senior citizens of the area as part of the Nelson Mandela Day activities.
The founding head of Ilitha Labantu Ms Mandisa Monakali indicated that she requested the Acting CEO to come and answer all questions the elderly people may have. She further appealed to all to emulate the example of Nelson Mandela even at their age.
Speaking to the elderly people ACEO Mahlangu informed them that SASSA will do everything possible to resolve all challenges associated with the card swap processes that resulted in some beneficiaries receiving their money late.
"We apologize profusely for the problems encountered by our beneficiaries a few weeks ago and I hope you find it within your hearts to forgive us", Mahlangu appealed.
He further said that SASSA took responsibility for what happened and is working tirelessly with the post office to ensure that this does not happen again.
"Nelson Mandela taught us to admit if we have made mistakes and ensure that they do not occur again. That is why I went to every media platform and elsewhere, admitted openly and apologized for what happened to beneficiaries" said the Acting CEO.
Mahlangu said he cannot imagine how life for the poor would have been like now if SASSA was not providing this important service on behalf of government. He relived memories of when he was working as a post office cash desk in 1986 where he was paying grants to people and other related pensions. He said elderly people then received their money once in three months as opposed to now where grants are paid monthly.
Beneficiaries raised a number of issues around the green card, the card swap processes and charges that are incurred when using other methods.
Mr Mahlangu encouraged all beneficiaries to continue with the card swap process and reap the benefits such as no illegal deductions, charges and swiping free at merchants who work with SASSA.