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Grant paymentglitches ‘fixed’

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Beneficiaries who might still be experiencing problems with their new cards should approach the Sassa office

A glitch in the Sassa pay out system has left thousands without their monthly grants

SOCIAL grant payments at the Kimberley Post Office and other paypoints have stabilised, according to the SA Social Services Agency (Sassa).

This follows a week of chaos at paypoints and the post office, where beneficiaries faced various challenges when attempting to access their grants.

Hundreds of Kimberley beneficiaries complained this week that they were not able to withdraw their money from ATMs as their cards had not been activated.

Some said they only received half their grant money from the post office and were forced to return the next day to receive the outstanding amount.

Sassa provincial spokesperson, Inno Khonou, said yesterday, however, that all major hiccups had been addressed and thousands of beneficiaries were able to receive their payments.

“In the Northern Cape, Sassa paid over to Sapo all monies of beneficiaries to receive grants, some being multiple grant recipients. Out of the 178 000, only 198 beneficiaries experienced biometric problems. These 198 persons had to go back to the local office to be re-enrolled, authenticated and verified by both Sassa and the South African Post Office (Sapo) in order for the grants to be paid into their accounts.

“When those beneficiaries approached Sassa, each case had to be investigated on the system and then dealt with on its own merit as the reasons for not receiving the payment differs from one to the next.”

Khonou advised beneficiaries who might still be experiencing problems with their new cards to approach the Sassa office.

“Plans are under way to intensify beneficiary education around how to transact or draw money at an ATM to ensure the next payment cycle is seamless.

“However, it is a known fact with any new system or transition from one to the next system, challenges will prevail. It could be systems interface, capability to handle the load or data transfer speed.

“This was a wake-up call for Sassa and Sapo and things will improve going forward for the benefit of our vulnerable people.

“Beneficiaries are still advised to call the toll free line at 0800 003 077 if they have more queries,” Khonou said.

Cabinet yesterday also apologised to social grant beneficiaries who were not able to access their funds this month.

“Cabinet appreciates that social grants are a lifeline to the most vulnerable members of our society and therefore such inconvenience is very much regrettable. It expressed its sincere apology to all affected beneficiaries,” a post-Cabinet statement read.

It added that Cabinet had received a briefing on the problems from Social Security Minister Susan Shabangu.

Shabangu has assured Cabinet that the technical glitches were a result of the transition of the payments from an old system to a new South African Social Security Agency/South African Post Office system. She has assured Cabinet that most of the affected beneficiaries have since been paid.

At least 700 000 of the country’s roughly 11 million welfare beneficiaries have struggled to access their grants since technical problems arose with the new payment system on Sunday.

Sassa has migrated to a new payment system operated by the South African Post Office and beneficiaries are being issued with new grant access cards replacing those issued by Cash Paymaster Services and Grindrod Bank.

Cabinet said teams of officials were “working hard to stabilise the systems to prevent a recurrence of such delays in the future”.

Sassa has given an undertaking that all problems would be resolved by today.