Government and its agencies, the Postbank and the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), have assured social grant beneficiaries that they will get their payments for the month of September 2023.
The Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, and the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Mondli Gungubele, along with Postbank and SASSA held a joint media briefing in Pretoria on Thursday where they extended their sincerest apologies to social grant beneficiaries who have encountered difficulties accessing their grants this past week.
“Government assures South Africa and social grants beneficiaries that all social grants beneficiaries that have not yet received their social grants payments will be paid their money in full.
“Postbank and SASSA staff will be in communities this entire week to assess progress in the delayed payment of grants and to assist recipients who may require further guidance and assistance,” Minister Gungubele said.
On Tuesday, 5 September 2023, and Wednesday, 6 September 2023, Postbank experienced intermittent system challenges at ATMs and retailers, leading to failed withdrawal attempts by some grant recipients for the old age and disabilities grants.
Gungubele explained that the system challenges led to the transactions of some beneficiaries resulting in ‘transaction incomplete errors’ because of the system’s communication timeouts.
He said the ‘transaction incomplete errors’ are common payments systems errors within the banking space, however, normally go by unnoticed due to automated reversal functionality.
“The system challenges that affected Postbank unfortunately impacted the availability of the auto reversal functionality. Regrettably, this resulted in some social grants beneficiaries that were due to be paid on the 5th and 6th of September 2023 not receiving their social grants payments on time.
“We would like to reassure our social grants beneficiaries, the public and all stakeholders that the system challenges were as a matter of fact resolved on the morning of the 6th of September 2023. The Postbank system has been working optimally since the afternoon of 6 September 2023,” he said.
Gungubele confirmed that the payment of all other social grants - which involves a much bigger clientele number - was concluded on 7 September 2023 without any challenges across all National Payments Systems (NPS) channels including ATMs and retailers.
He said that more than four million individuals were paid their social grants money by Postbank through the SASSA Gold Cards on 7 and 8 September 2023.
However, the Minister acknowledged that there might be a few beneficiaries who have not yet received their social grants.
“Unfortunately, though, due to the automated reversal not working on the 5th and 6th, a number of clients, mainly the elderly, were unable to access their funds for a prolonged period of time as a manual process had to be implemented to credit their accounts.
“This is what Postbank is now contending with which is the source of the understandable nationwide concerns relating to the September 2023 social grants payments and the issue that as Ministers we saw the need to address,” Gungubele said.
The Minister announced that originally this affected approximately 600 000 beneficiaries, which translates to around 10% of the 5.3 million beneficiaries that are paid their social grants via Postbank’s SASSA Gold Cards monthly.
“We would like to confirm to South Africa that the majority of these accounts have now been corrected and clients have been able to access their money,” he said.
Postbank has completed more than 500 000 funds reversals to date and the affected beneficiaries have gotten their social grants payments.
However, the Minister said it is important to acknowledge that due to the manual processes involved, the process is time consuming and has taken a longer than desirable.
Clients who are still encountering challenges with accessing their grant money and require support have been encouraged to contact the Postbank call centre on 0800 53 54 55 or email to PBbalancingSaswitch@postbank.co.za. – SAnews.gov.za