Upgrades on SASSA system completed

Monday, July 30, 2018

The South African Post Office (SAPO) has completed upgrades to its South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) social grants IT system - in time for the end-of-July payments cycle.

“Our IT systems are ready for the upcoming month-end payments and we are confident that social grant beneficiaries will witness a smooth payments experience,” SAPO Chief Operating Officer (COO) Lindiwe Kwele said.

Kwele said technicians have been working tirelessly with industry stakeholders since the beginning of the month to optimise the post office’s transaction capacity.

“Infrastructure upgrades have also been implemented on Postbank’s connectivity to Bankserv to improve transaction speeds,” she said.

The post office said the upgrades will allow SAPO sufficient capacity to process grant payments transaction volumes involving social beneficiaries that have migrated to the new gold SASSA card.

“The IT improvements that SAPO has made have increased its processing capacity to better than 160 transactions per second – an improvement of more than 700%, and in line with banking industry standards,” the post office said.

SAPO is the gazetted preferred payment channel for all social grants in South Africa in a government-led initiative.

As part of the initiative, SAPO and 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.

“Beneficiaries that switched to the new gold SASSA card do not have to go queue at the Post Office to access their money. On midnight 31 July, the money will be credited into the accounts and beneficiaries can make transactions with their cards from any of the channels available to them,” the post office said.

According to the post office, the new card does not work at the old pay-points where they were previously paid in cash.

“It is important for social grants beneficiaries to note that once you have switched to the new gold SASSA card before 22 July, you cannot use the new card at your previous SASSA pay-point.

“Your social grant money will automatically be paid into the new card and, if you so wish, you can withdraw cash at any ATM, over the till at shops such as Shoprite and Boxer, the Post Office or you can simply use your card to buy goods at any shops that accept bank cards,” Kwele said.

SASSA is also in the process of rationalising its pay-points, and some of them may be decommissioned.

The post office said the old white SASSA card will also expire at the end of September 2018 and beneficiaries should use the limited time left to switch to the new one.

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.

SAPO and SASSA have deployed teams throughout the country where dedicated temporary card swap sites are established using existing infrastructure. –SANews.gov.za