Sassa social grants

Barbara Maregele

Sassa systems glitch: Beneficiaries lose out on every transaction

According to Sassa officials, more than 5.6 million beneficiaries are still aligned with CPS and Grindrod Bank.

Sassa social grants

Barbara Maregele

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) has blamed recent deductions on a computer glitch emanating from a convoluted transition process.

Social grant beneficiaries have been left fuming following unwarranted deductions from their already meagre monthly fund. In an attempt to restore calm and ally fears of further interferences, Dianne Dunkerley‚ executive manager of grants administration at SASSA, has offered up an explanation to Parliament.

Sassa beneficiaries losing up to R50

According to a report by Times Live, hundreds of beneficiaries have been charged up to R50 when withdrawing their cash grants this month. This comes in the wake of an earlier full system failure which delayed grant payments, causing mass confusion and panic.

Members of Parliament, worried by the recent incompetence displayed by Sassa and its grant administrators, the South African Post Office (SAPO), promptly summoned Dunkerley to an official question and answers briefing.

Dunkerley assured MP’s that the problem was being investigated and that all affected parties would be refunded after raising the issue with Sassa officials. She explained that the irregular deductions were only affecting old-card users, saying:

“These were mostly beneficiaries still using the old SASSA cards still being paid by CPS [Cash Payment Services]. Yesterday‚ we were told that there was a computer problem and the deductions would be refunded.”

Sassa still fighting with CPS

It’s not the first time Sassa has put the blame on CPS – their old payment partners. Bickering and fighting between the two organisations have only intensified in recent months, with Sassa accusing CPS of sabotaging to the restructuring process.

In fact, Social Development Minister, Susan Shabangu, has confirmed that charges have been laid against CPS for purposefully disrupting the SAPO handover.

SAPO, itself, is struggling to keep up with its newly acquired administrative responsibilities – it’s estimated that 17 million South Africans rely on Sassa grants.

The biggest stumbling block for Sassa has been its attempt to successfully transition beneficiaries over to the new card and payment system.

Sassa official, Raphaahle Ramokgopa, confirmed that 5.6 million beneficiaries were still aligned with the Grindrod Bank/CPS payment system, saying:

“The majority are people still using the old SASSA cards and need to be migrated to the new cards. Then there are about 2.5 million beneficiaries that have [EasyPay Everywhere] accounts.”

The old Sassa cards are set to become redundant in October.