A technical glitch experienced at outlets of the South African Post Office (Sapo) in the Xhariep region of the Free State is blamed after grant beneficiaries were left stranded for days.Due to the technical glitch, beneficiaries were unable to withdraw money at any Sapo outlets, causing an outcry among the beneficiaries who mainly rely on grants paid by the through government agency, the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa).The problem came to light after beneficiaries in affected towns complained that they could not make transactions from 31 October to 3 November.did not receive an explanation upon enquiring. Trompsburg, Edenburg, Fauresmith and Jagersfontein were affected by the problem. Sandy Mbanya, Sassa’s provincial spokesperson, conceded that the technical problem affected beneficiaries from small towns that are economically unviable. “A few towns were affected. According to the regional manager of the post office, the problem was with the banking section,” Mbanya said.“The technical teams of both Sassa and Sapo have reported that the system was unable to deal with the huge volumes of transactions they received due to the increased uptake of card swaps. This has, however, been rectified, and the line speed between Sapo and the payment clearing house, Bankserv, has also been increased drastically.”She said the problem has since been rectified and that Sapo made manual payments whenever system faults were persistent. “The challenge differs from point to point. In some areas, money arrived late, while in others, it did not arrive at all. Payment challenges differ from time to time, from district to district,” Mbanya said.“Sassa and Sapo tackle challenges together at both district and regional level. This is the first time that we had to wait for money for more than two days.” The matter has been escalated, and hence the improvement as from 5 November,” said Mbanya.She said plans were in place to avoid the repeat of such distress. “On pay days, technical teams will visit branches, pay-points and retail outlets to test the resilience of the system to avoid a repeat of this bad experience. Sassa would like to extend its sincerest apology to all the beneficiaries who were negatively impacted by the technical challenges in October’s payment cycle. “Sassa assures its stakeholders that the new system was never meant to inconvenience deserving grant recipients,” she said. Mbanya has advised beneficiaries to consider withdrawing their social grants using ATMs in the event of technical difficulties.“Grants will always be paid on the last day of the month. Beneficiaries can use their cards to withdraw money at ATMs.” and merchants retail supermarkets,” explain Mbanya.