The South African Post Office (SAPO) has assured the grant beneficiaries of the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) that they will receive their funds on time during the next pay-out period. This month 700 000 recipients were not paid on time because of a system glitch.
“The most important problem with Sassa transactions during the July pay-out period was the very high volumes of withdrawal requests, which caused transactions to time out after 30 seconds,” said Lindiwe Kwele, COO of the Post Office.
Both Sassa and SAPO were given until 6 July to ensure all grant beneficiaries were paid.
“By 6 July, the success rate of transactions using the new Sassa card at ATMs was higher than 98%. This is above the industry average,” said Kwele.
SAPO said the organisation has paid out more than 80% of July’s grants.
According to a statement issued by Sassa, the remaining number are mainly people who did not rush to withdraw their money during the first week of the month.
Kwele said the problem has been addressed by installing a new high-speed switch on the server that processes the transactions and by increasing the database capacity.
Social Development Committee Intervention
The Social Development Committee has since urged SAPO to revisit the roadmap that was presented to the committee. The committee also stressed that it is important that both SAPO and Sassa ensure that grants are distributed successfully in future.
On Thursday the Minister of Communications, Nomvula Mokonyane, accused Cash Paymaster Services, the outgoing payments services provider, of sabotaging the migration process.
When Justmoney asked Herman Kotze, CEO of Net1 UEPS Technologies, the holding company of Cash Paymaster Services, about the allegations he said that the company welcomes any competition provided that it is fair.
“We met with the minister two weeks ago. The minister informed us that Sassa and SAPO were intent on competing in the low-cost banking product environment by offering the new Sassa/SAPO account to grant recipients."
“We responded that we welcome any competition, provided that it is fair and that the grant recipients are free to choose the account of their choice, as they will choose the product that best suits their needs and service requirements.”
Kotze said that since Sassa publicly announced its intention to scale down the payment service to grant recipients in remote and rural areas, this will give the social grant recipients the chance to choose where and how they access their grants.
According to SAPO, the new Sassa card offers beneficiaries a wide choice of channels where they can withdraw their grants.
“This system is designed to avoid congestion at a single pay channel,” said Kwele.