All systems go for SAPO social grants payments

Friday, August 31, 2018

The process of phasing out Cash Payment Services (CPS) and phasing in the South African Post Office (SAPO) to pay social grants, is moving smoothly, with no glitches expected, come 1 October 2018.

This was the assurance given by Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Siyabonga Cwele and Social Development Minister Susan Shabangu during a media briefing on Friday.

SAPO and the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) are currently migrating social grant beneficiaries to a new gold SASSA card that is tailored to prevent illegal deductions on social grants.

The new SASSA card operates fully within the national payment system and social grants beneficiaries can use it to make ATM and merchant cash withdrawals, free retail merchant purchases as well as to withdraw cash over the counter inside a Post Office.

The old white SASSA card will also expire at the end of September 2018.

Shabangu said 5.5 million social grant beneficiaries have successfully swapped to the new card and about 200 000 are yet to do so.

The partnership with SAPO is yielding results, she said, and the glitches experienced in the beginning of July, which were related to network systems, have been fixed.

“All those challenges have been overcome and if you look at where we are, last month, we did our payment in a smooth way and our systems are working adequately.

“Our process now is to focus on the Post Office as we are mindful that they have infrastructure challenges. We believe that come the 1st of October, we will be able to pay beneficiaries without challenges,” Shabangu said.

Cwele agreed that they were making good progress in a very short period of time.

SAPO is busy upgrading its network services working with Post Bank.

Cwele explained the glitches experienced in July were not caused by SASSA or SAPO, but network challenges, in terms of connecting data bases at the central level.

“We continue to support our operators on the ground and making sure that we improve the infrastructure and conditions for grant recipients to receive their grants.”

Last month, they started piloting cash payments in provinces and will continue in other provinces like Western Cape, Free State and Northern Cape.

To get the new SASSA card, beneficiaries should bring their ID to any SASSA office, a selected Post Office branch or a dedicated card-swap site.

Beneficiaries receiving their grants through their own personal bank account, do not need to get the new SASSA card. SASSA will continue to pay social grants based on the normal payment cycle or paydays at limited number of payments. –