Government addresses media report on grant payments

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Government Communications (GCIS) says it has noted the story in the Sunday Independent claiming that Postbank is not ready to play its expected role in the new grant payments system.

“The headline to this story is particularly inaccurate as it suggests that because of this, millions of grant recipients may not receive their grants come 1 April 2018.  Nothing could be further from the truth,” the GCIS said in a statement.

The GCIS said the context of the story appears to stem from a scant reading of government’s fourth and final quarterly report to the Constitutional Court of South Africa on 16 March 2018, in which the readiness of South African Post Office (SAPO) was clearly outlined.

“The issue of a banking licence not being granted to SAPO’s Postbank can and should be read in the context of the full report, which outlines the major progress made by government in ensuring its full commitment to the deadlines set by the ConCourt when it requested that a new payments system be in place come 1 April 2018.

“The interpretation by the journalist of the Sunday Independent fails to identify that the Postbank is already licensed as a full participant in the National Payment System and therefore already daily receives payment files from Bankserv to credit Postbank accounts with salaries and other credits,” the GCIS said. 

The GCIS said the fact that National Treasury has not condoned Postbank to open a corporate account for the South Africa Social Security Agency (SASSA) payments will have no bearing or negative impact on Postbank’s ability to process the individual credits into SASSA beneficiaries’ accounts, as this will be conducted through Bankserv.

“It is disappointing that at this late stage of the process, there are still members of the media who resort to sensational and erroneous reporting. This when the beneficiaries of social grants need our collective efforts to reassure and inform them.  The media is key in this process.

“The submission of the fourth and final quarterly report provides the opportunity to assure South Africans that our social grants programme is a service to our people.  We are mindful of the tension and anxiety which uncertainty has caused and commit to ensure that such never happens again.”

The GCIS reiterated government’s unwavering commitment to pay social grants.  

“In the year in which we celebrate the centenary of the birth of two giants of our liberation struggle, Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu, and in the month in which we celebrate Human Rights, the right to dignity afforded by social grants to over 10 million South Africans, must be celebrated, upheld and protected,” the GCIS said. –

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