This Is Why Sassa Faced Grant Payment Challenges



Thousands of grant beneficiaries struggled to access their social grants during the final months of 2022. The department has revealed why grant payment challenges occurred.



In 2022, it was revealed that the South African Post Office (SAPO) would cede its partnership with the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) to the Postbank. The decision was made after months of administrative challenges, technical issues, corruption and failure to deliver on their mandate to pay social grants.

In February 2023, the Department of Social Development (DSD) was invited to brief the portfolio committee on Social Development on the status of social grant payments.

During the briefing, it was revealed that SAPO failed to provide dignified services, has adequate equipment to comply with norms and standards and adhere to a payment schedule time. These challenges continued for six consecutive months in 2022.

The Postbank took over the Sassa Master Service Agreements (MSA) from SAPO “As-Is” with no changes in the contract in terms of rights, obligations, related costs, and revenue.

This transition was meant to be seamless and grant beneficiaries were not supposed to notice the transition as there were no systemic changes.

However, since taking over the contract, Postbank has been experiencing network challenges and system glitches during grant payment runs which led to failed transactions at ATMS and retailers.

In December 2022, the challenges facing Postbank escalated after they noticed malicious activity on their IT network. This led Postbank to bring in an external cyber security team to improve and assist with their IT systems.

Grant payment challenges arose again in January 2023. A power failure at a City of Tshwane substation affected the SAPO data centre. The challenges stemming from the power failure were compounded when the data centre also experienced the failure of a backup generator.

This impacted grant payments at SAPO branches across the country. Grant beneficiaries were able to collect their money at ATMs and retailers.

The Postbank announced that the Integrated Grants Payments System (IGPS) was migrated to a secure cloud environment which made the system more secure and stable. They added this meant that no major incidents were recorded in February 2023.

They also committed to ensuring every effort is made to maintain the stability of the grant payment system to avoid inconvenient millions of grant beneficiaries in the coming months. 


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