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, acknowledged 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.
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 three 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 customer care line on 043 707 6300/6335, alternatively inbox SASSA on social media pages at SASSA.