Grant recipients shocked when ATMs showed that there were no funds available in their Sassa cards.
AN APPARENT technical glitch on the part of the SA Post Office left many SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) beneficiaries empty-handed on Wednesday.
According to grant beneficiaries, their transactions were declined when they tried to withdraw their grant money at ATMs and merchants in the city.
Several old age, disability and child grant recipients indicated that they were shocked when the ATMs showed that there were no funds available in their Sassa cards.
One beneficiary said she tried alternative ways of accessing her money but with no luck.
“I went to the ATM to withdraw my disability grant. The lines were a bit long at the ATM as is expected this time of the month. I, however, waited patiently and as I had a list of necessities I needed to buy for home. I was surprised when the ATM screen showed me that I had insufficient funds in my account,” she said.
“I was scared to withdraw from the ATM again as I feared that I might get scammed. I then headed to one of the supermarkets located near the ATM to withdraw the money. After I had put in my pin and the amount of cash I wanted, the cashier at the supermarket informed me that my card had been declined. I was surprised as I had expected the money to be paid in.”
She said she overheard other people in the queue also enquiring about the matter.
“An elderly couple indicated to the cashier that they had experienced the same problem. The cashier also informed them that their cards had been declined.”
She said they headed to the Tlhokomelo local office in an attempt to get answers.
“The employees at Tlhokomelo were not able to assist us and referred us to the Post Office. They said they could see that there were funds in our accounts and could not understand why we were unable to access the money,” she said.
She said she had to return home empty-handed.
“I came to town in order to buy food for my children. I now have to go home with nothing. I spent an entire afternoon in town and nobody was able to assist me. It is frustrating as we have to get up early in the morning in order to be first in line and to finish our shopping before the shops get too busy. This whole exercise has not only left me frustrated but also made me waste taxi fare unnecessarily,” she stated.
Another resident indicated that her bank balance reflected that her child grant had been paid into her account. “However, when I tried to withdraw the money, it wasn’t in the account.”
The resident said she initially blamed the bank. “According to the teller, I wasn’t the only person who was affected and many others had also complained. She advised me to contact Sassa.”
The resident said she went to the Sassa offices in the city centre. “However, they were closed due to an apparent Covid-19 positive case, and I was referred to the branch in Floors.”
She said that the staff there indicated that it was a national problem but reassured her that it would be corrected soon. “It doesn’t help though because how will I know if the money is there or not without having to catch another taxi back into town?”
According to Sassa Northern Cape spokesperson Inno Khunou, the problem was on the side of the Post Office.
Johan Kruger, spokesperson for the Post Office, apologised for the inconvenience suffered by beneficiaries and indicated that they were working on the problem. He said the matter would be resolved by Thursday and assured beneficiaries that all money due to them would be in their accounts.
According to Kruger, the problem was caused by a technical glitch.
The SA Post Office stated earlier in the day on Wednesday that a number of withdrawals had “timed out”.
“Postbank is aware that some Sassa withdrawals are timing out, deducting the amount from your account although the transaction is unsuccessful. These transactions are being automatically reversed, account status will be correct after 1pm today. We apologise for the issue,” it said.