Government Says Postbank Beneficiaries Have Been Paid, But Some Disagree

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The technical glitch that prevented Sassa grant beneficiaries from receiving their September payments has since been resolved. The Minister of Social Development and Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies have issued a joint statement explaining what went wrong.


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The Department of Social Development (DSD) has claimed that impacted Postbank beneficiaries have been paid after the system glitch that took place during the monthly social grant payment week of September 2023. 

The glitch prevented beneficiaries, particularly beneficiaries of the Older Person's grant and Disability grant, from accessing their social grant money for the month. The glitch has since been resolved, and social grant monies became available for collection.

Many vulnerable South Africans rely on social grants distributed by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) as their sole form of income, due to staggering unemployment and poverty.

To go without that money, left thousands hungry and confused. 

Have All Impacted Beneficiaries Been Paid?

More than a week after the “glitch” many beneficiaries were still struggling to gain access to their money. 

The Department of Social Development, Department of Communication and Digital Technology and Postbank has assured clients that the system is back on track and repaired, and has stated that all beneficiaries that make use of Postbank have been paid or have had their money become available for collection. 

However, in a media briefing held today, 21 September 2023, the Department was asked if it only relied on Postbank for payment updates, as the situation "on the ground" told a different story.

Reportedly, there are still a number of beneficiaries that have not been able to access their social grants, despite the two Department's and Postbank's claims that "everyone has been paid" since the glitch on 6 September 2023. 

How The System Glitch Occurred 

According to the Department, the cause of the system glitch could be attributed to software Postbank uses to pay social grants. 

This “payment switch” software enables Postbank to connect to the BankServ Africa platform and process transactions through the Integrated Grant Payment System (IGPS). About 35% of grant recipients, a total of 6.3 million people, receive their money through this system, which pays the money into Sassa/Postbank cards.

The migration to the new payment switch caused the so-called system “glitch” which on Monday 4 September, left thousands of Old Age grant recipients unable to access their R2,080 grant on their Sassa/Postbank cards, as well as a few Disability and Child Support grants were also affected.

The Expiring of Sassa Gold Cards Are Unrelated to the Glitch

During today's media briefing, Gugubele stated that the Sassa Gold Cards, used by thousands of beneficiaries and which are set to expire in December 2023, were not linked to the technical glitch. 

At the time, Postbank said clients using the Gold Card could not make withdrawals or transact at ATMs and other retailers, even though Sassa had made payments into clients' bank accounts.

In the statement, Postbank said:

The technical challenges only affected clients who were using the Sassa Postbank gold card. Other clients, who were receiving grants at various pay points or other banks, except Postbank, were not affected and were able to withdraw their payments. 

The Department's Say Challenges Will Not Occur Again 

During last week's media briefing, Gugubele said that "system challenges are a thing of the past," reiterating that the system has been fixed and improved to prevent similar instances occurring in the future.

But, the Postbank CEO has said that the only the promise they can make is that they will attempt to prevent something like this from happening again, but cannot guarantee that glitches will never occur in the future. 

Last week, Gugubele and Zulu have stated that the process of reversing and paying the funds is time consuming, which is why not everyone had received their September grant money, but have also assured beneficiaries that their social grants will be paid in full, in due time. 

Today, Gugubele said: 

Noting that we will start with the October payment cycle in less than two weeks, we have started preparing to ensure that we do not encounter challenges that were experienced by our clients in this month. 

"We are actively taking measures to prevent future challenges in our banking ecosystem, and in particular for our social grant account holders. Our commitment to the welfare and well-being of our social grants beneficiaries remains unwavering."

Suggested Article:

Government talking about grants.

Millions of vulnerable people rely on social grants from the government to purchase food and other basic goods every month. While the value of social grants will increase in October 2023, many believe grants are simply not enough. 


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