Postbank Confirms All Sassa Grants For September Now Paid

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Millions of vulnerable individuals rely on social grant payments each month. Postbank has confirmed that all beneficiaries of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) social grants that were affected by the recent technical glitch have been paid.

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Earlier this month, Postbank failed to pay social grant recipients on time after its system malfunctioned, resulting in pensioners and those living with disabilities being unable to access their money for over a week. The technical glitch led to recipients receiving “transaction incomplete errors” because of the system’s communication timeouts.

At least 600 000 recipients either received only a portion of their grants or no money. Last week, the Department of Social Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu confirmed that roughly 60 000 people who have yet to be paid.

However, in a statement released on Tuesday, Postbank spokesperson Bongani Diako said that, according to its records, all outstanding Sassa grant payments had been made to recipients who were impacted by the system "glitch" of 5 and 6 September.

The process of reversing funds into all affected beneficiaries’ accounts has been completed. Many Sassa gold card beneficiaries that had outstanding payments have been able to access their money through channels that include ATMs and retailers.

"Social grants beneficiaries that still wish to make enquiries relating to their social grants payments can contact Postbank," said Diako.   

    Will this happen again?

    Human rights organisation Black Sash says that the DSD along with SASSA must deliver a plan to mitigate further technical issues and has said, "We are disappointed that neither the minister nor the respective CEOs failed to outline any plan or measures by Sassa and Postbank to prevent similar events from happening again."

    We are alarmed and dismayed by these comments. Not only does it demonstrate that our own government does not grasp the seriousness these system failures have on the most vulnerable, the elderly, who are the poorest in our communities. It shows that beneficiaries must just accept that there will be delays in accessing their grant monies.

    As Postbank is unable to give a 100% guarantee that system failures will not happen again, Black Sash has urged Sassa and Postbank to share what the plan is should it happen again, and what beneficiaries should do.  

    The group also noted that they want to see that the Master Service Agreement (MSA) between Sassa and Postbank must be finalised and signed, as this is an important mechanism needed to hold both properly accountable, especially if further technical challenges can be expected.

    Claims of people trying to defraud Postbank

    Meanwhile, Postbank said they had encountered incidents where some people attempted to defraud the bank, hoping they would receive double payments. 

    Our systems are very thorough, and the people that are making these attempts will not be successful. Instead, these people are clogging the system and denying people who need genuine assistance from being helped.

    "We condemn this behaviour, which will be reported to law enforcement agencies as it also perpetuates the incorrect notion that there are still large numbers of Sassa beneficiaries that have not been paid," said Diako.

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    SASSA card.

    As a way to curve some of the struggles associated with South Africa's worrying levels of poverty and unemployment, low-income individuals receive social grants each month as a form of government financial assistance. However, these grant values are simply not enough during this high cost of living period. 

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