New Sassa card payment glitch raises concern among grantees

2018-07-19 06:00
Panginathen Naik uses his old Sassa card.

Panginathen Naik uses his old Sassa card.

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GRANT beneficiaries of the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) are demanding answers after more than 700 000 people using the new South African Post Office issued Sassa cards countrywide were not paid their money this month.

Other pensioners claimed to have received R80 and R20 when they withdrew money this month. Pensioners at the pension cottages in Tongaat were also affected.

Panginathen Naik (56) collects his disability grant on the second day of
every month. However, this month he did not get his grant.

“This is the first time that something like this has happened to me. I have no insurance policies on my Sassa card and it all surprised me. I pay for transport going to the Tongaat village.

“I have to pay rent, pay [the] doctor a consultation fee and buy food. How am I suppose to survive this month?” Naik asked. Naik is an amputee and struggles to walk.

A neighbour, Adhilutchmy Arumgum (78), feels that she has been robbed of her grant.

“I went to the post office to collect my money. A cashier at the post office told me that I could only withdraw R1500 and not the full amount of R1700. She told me to go and withdraw the remaining R200 at the ATM. When I withdrew the money at the bank ATM, only R70 came out,” she said.

Another resident, Govindama Gengan, said the new Sassa card did not work at the ATM.

“I received my new Sassa card last month. When I went to collect my money last week I got R1600 instead of R1700. I have no insurance policies linked on my card,” Gengan said.

Nagammal Moodley (77) said she experienced difficulties with the new card when she tried to withdraw this month.

“The officials at the post office told us that with the new card, we can withdraw the money anywhere without any additional charges. I went to one of the shops in Tongaat to withdraw money. I was not able to withdraw my full amount at the machine. I had to go inside and withdraw it at the till,” Gengan said.

She said that she switched to the new card after Sassa announced that the old cards will phase out in September.

“I am concerned because I don’t know what to expect in the future as many people using the new cards claimed to have not received their grants at all,” she said.

Other beneficiaries claim that they only received R20 and R80 of their grants.

Coastal Weekly attempted to get a comment from the office of the Minister of Social Development, Susan Shabangu, but all attempts were unsuccessful.

However, acting CEO Abraham Mahlangu admitted in a media statement that Sassa has experienced technical glitches which made it difficult for money to be drawn even if the card already has funds deposited by Sassa.

Mahlangu said a portion of their beneficiaries have not receive grants since July 1.

“Sassa pays over 12 million beneficiaries per month and about 700 000 of them use the new Sassa card.

“These 700 000 beneficiaries could not draw their money at some of the banking infrastructure in the country, notwithstanding the fact that Sassa had already deposited funds into their accounts,” Mahlangu said.

Sassa said the “capacity of the system to deal with huge volumes has been strengthened to ensure that in the coming months nobody goes home unpaid”. The line speed between the South African Post Office and the payment clearing house called Bankserv has been increased drastically and post offices were enabled to make manual payments whenever system faults arose.

Mahlangu said: “Our plea to beneficiaries is that they don’t have to necessarily collect their grants on the first day of the month, and that they don’t have to queue in the early hours of the morning at post offices because their money will be available at any hour of the day.

“They don’t have to subject themselves to the negative weather conditions we are experiencing and they have to avoid the congestion that comes at the beginning of every month.”

Sassa will phase out the old Cash Paymaster Services cards by the end of September.

Beneficiaries are urged to ensure that by the end of August, they have acquired the new Sassa cards because the old one is expiring in September.

The new Sassa card is an improvement of the old card in that it does not allow deductions for things such as airtime, loans or prepaid electricity, among others.

According to Sassa, the new card also allows three free cash withdrawals at points of sale, one free withdrawal at the post office per month, free swipes at points of sale and is accepted by all ATMs displaying the Visa sign.

Mahlangu added: “We wish to also apologise sincerely to the affected beneficiaries and commit that these problems will not recur in future.”

Beneficiaries who encounter any problems can contact Sassa toll free at 0800 60 1011.

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