Sassa promises portfolio committee that technical glitches will be resolved by Friday

2018-07-04 18:38

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Technical glitches are responsible for the inability of about 700 000 of the 10.8m SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) beneficiaries to access their cash.

However, the issues are expected to be resolved within the next three days, the agency's executive manager of grants administration Dianne Dunkerley told the Portfolio Committee on Social Development on Wednesday.

Only those with the new Sassa cards have been affected, Dunkerley said. Those who have the old cards or who withdrew their grants from banks were unaffected.

Acting Sassa CEO Abraham Mahlangu, who was meant to report back to the committee on the challenges the agency was facing, did not attend the meeting as he dealt with the current situation, but reported via telecom that its newly-acquired IGS system had been "experiencing strain".

Sassa, however, "has a full handle on the current grant situation" as the system performance had improved drastically, he told chairperson Nokuzola Capa.

"We apologise to the nation. If there is any glitch, we won't hide it away," Mahlangu said, adding that the agency was "dealing with situation fairly aggressively".

The "sheer volume" of people trying to withdraw their cash resulted in the system glitch, which is stabilising, Dunkerley said.

The money is in the beneficiaries' accounts, she confirmed, but the issue arose during the withdrawal as the system was throttled.

Sassa is in the process of phasing out Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), as directed by the Constitutional Court, and introducing the South African Post Office (SAPO) to pay social grants.

Dunkerley said trial runs had been done, but the problems only became apparent with the increase in the volume of people trying to access their grants.

Committee members said they were concerned by reports that Sassa staff were unhelpful and rude to beneficiaries who needed assistance, as well as the implementation of a PIN system which, according to them, especially the older beneficiaries could forget.

READ: Court dismisses Sassa bid to stop strike with costs

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