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Anger over late supply of SASSA payments

Neelam Rahim |

3-minute read
15 September 2023 | 17:30 CAT

Image: EWN

Thousands of SASSA grant recipients have been left in the lurch after not receiving their SASSA money because of what has been explained as a “glitch” related to a dispute over a “payment switch” software used by Postbank to pay the grants. Postbank is in an ongoing court case with the former supplier of its “payment switch”, Electronic Connection.

Members of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Social Development were told yesterday that last week’s “system glitch”, which affected thousands of social grant recipients, was caused by software Postbank uses to pay grants.

Around 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. Whether this was a payment switch software glitch or the reason, the fact remains that SASSA recipients received their grants only a week ago.

Human rights organisation Black Sash has slammed the government for disregarding thousands of pensioners who did not receive their social grants in September.

Black Sash regional manager Thandi Henkerman said Postbank did not correctly grasp how many beneficiaries were affected and couldn’t access their grants.

“Both ministers were at pains to issue their sincerest apologies to affected beneficiaries. While stressing that [the South African Social Security Agency] Sassa and Postbank are not failing, this makes their apologies hollow. It means nothing to a hungry, vulnerable, elderly person who has no money and no food to eat.”

Henkerman said the ministers could not give a 100% guarantee that system failures wouldn’t recur and had no plan should it happen again.

“We, again, call on both ministers to launch an independent investigation to probe the integrity of the grant payment system. It cannot be acceptable that we must just accept that system errors are normal.”

The human rights organisation also wants the government to outline whether there would be penalties for future glitches in the system.

Monitoring the impact across the ground and many different provinces, Henkerman said the effect is severe.

“We have seen pure desperation, hunger, egony and frustration. Our beneficiaries are struggling, a lot of them having to take out loans just to get through and buy necessities such as food and electricity. The impact is widespread and deeply felt by beneficiaries,” Henkerman said.

Listen to the full interview with Mufti Yusuf Moosagie on Your World Today.


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