Sas­sa smoo­thing out pay­ment glit­ches

George Herald - - News -

Br­ü­mil­da Swart­booi

A­w­hop­ping to­tal of 700 000 out of the 10,8-mil­li­on South A­fri­can So­ci­al Se­cu­ri­ty A­gen­cy (Sas­sa) grant be­ne­fi­ci­a­ries could not access their mo­ney last week due to techni­cal pro­blems. The pro­blems in­clu­ded o­ver-the-coun­ter li­mits w­he­re be­ne­fi­ci­a­ries couldn't wit­h­draw a­mounts o­ver R1 500, strain due to the high num­ber of pe­op­le who had re­gis­te­red with the post of­fi­ce and dif­fi­cul­ty with the li­ne that con­nects SA Post Of­fi­ce's in­te­gra­ted grant pay­ment sy­stem with banks' ser­vers as part of the tran­sacti­on pro­ces­sing.

A frus­tra­ted a­no­ny­mous Sas­sa be­ne­fi­ci­a­ry who wai­ted in a long queue for so­ci­al grant pay­ment at Pa­calts­dorp Post Of­fi­ce last week Tu­es­day, said pro­blems with pay-outs af­fect the poor­est of the poor.

Sas­sa Acting Dis­trict Ma­na­ger, No­zu­ko Non­ko­ny­a­na, said Sas­sa ex­pe­rien­ced techni­cal pro­blems with the South A­fri­can Post Of­fi­ce (Sa­po) sy­stem. "So­me cards we­re not cor­rect­ly con­fi­gu­red, not­wit­hstan­ding the fact that Sas­sa had al­re­a­dy de­po­si­ted the a­mount in­to be­ne­fi­ci­a­ries' ac­counts."

Ac­cor­ding to Non­ko­ny­a­na, the pro­blems we­re li­mi­ted to be­ne­fi­ci­a­ries with the new Sas­sa cards. Non­ko­ny­a­na said the Sa­po sy­stem has now been cor­rected na­ti­o­nal­ly and Sas­sa em­ploy­ees will be on du­ty at the next pay-out da­te to smoot­he out dif­fi­cul­ties that mig­ht a­ri­se. Sas­sa pays mo­re than 12-mil­li­on be­ne­fi­ci­a­ries e­ach month. The new Sas­sa card is an im­pro­vement on the old card and it does not al­low de­ducti­ons for t­hings such as air­ti­me, lo­ans or pre­paid e­lec­tri­ci­ty. 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.

Sas­sa is run­ning a card swap pro­ject that al­lows be­ne­fi­ci­a­ries to swap their old cards for the new card. This pro­cess has been im­pacted by the na­ti­o­nal post of­fi­ce stri­ke that star­ted on F­ri­day 6 Ju­ly. Sas­sa ho­pes the ne­go­ti­a­ting par­ties will re­ach an agreement very soon so that de­ser­ving vul­ne­ra­ble pe­op­le can a­cqui­re the new Sas­sa card wit­hout dif­fi­cul­ty and en­joy its be­ne­fits.

We­stern Ca­pe Sa­po spo­kes­per­son, Mar­tie Gil­christ, said that Sa­po sta­ke­hol­ders are meet­ing with go­vern­ment to­day, T­hurs­day 12 Ju­ly, to find ways of de­ve­lo­ping a sus­tai­na­ble so­lu­ti­on and it is still unsu­re w­het­her the post of­fi­ce stri­ke will be sett­led by the next Sas­sa pay-out da­te.

Be­ne­fi­ci­a­ries who en­coun­ter any pro­blems can con­tact Sas­sa toll free on 080 060 1011 or in­box Sas­sa on so­ci­al me­dia. In ex­tre­me ca­ses, Sas­sa will pro­vi­de so­ci­al re­lief of dis­tress in the form of food par­cels to tho­se en­coun­te­ring pro­blems with acces­sing their grants. Sas­sa pays mo­re than 12-mil­li­on be­ne­fi­ci­a­ries e­ach month.

The post of­fi­ce in the Ge­or­ge In­dus­tria was clo­sed last F­ri­day af­ter­noon due to the na­ti­o­nal post of­fi­ce stri­ke. Sas­sa ho­pes the ne­go­ti­a­ting par­ties will re­ach an agreement soon.

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