Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu says the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) glitch that left thousands of old-age grant recipients unpaid for several weeks affected only 600,000 people.
Zulu said this was only 3% of the people who receive grants in the country.
She said Postbank has been able to resolve the crisis.
Zulu also said Sassa beneficiaries have a right to choose any bank into which their money will be paid. She said Sassa has put in resources in anticipation of an expected demand for alternative banks.
Sassa came under fire from political parties and civil society when thousands of elderly people could not access their grants because of the glitch.
Postbank CEO Nikki Mbengane and Sassa officials appeared before the National Assembly’s portfolio committee on social development to explain delays in the payment of grants.
Zulu, who was replying to a written parliamentary question from DA MP Alexandra Abrahams, said Postbank has now resolved the problems that affected their systems.
“The system glitch, which resulted in payment delays, affected approximately 600,000 (3%) of social grant beneficiaries who access their monies through the Postbank. The system glitch affected Postbank clients randomly across all the provinces,” said Zulu.
“The system glitch occurred predominantly on the first day of September payment cycle, which is the pay day for the payment of the Old-Age Grant.
“The glitch within the Postbank banking system was caused by the concentrated load capacity challenge resulting in intermittent timeouts, further complicated by a failure in the auto-reversal process.
“Postbank reported there were various attempts to defraud the system,” said Zulu.
She said if old-age grant recipients wanted to switch their payments from one bank to another, that was allowed.
It was up to the beneficiaries which institution would be able to provide a service to them. This process was quick.
“As I have mentioned on many occasions, Sassa clients have the right to choose any bank into which their money will be paid, including Postbank. All clients’ requests to change bank account details are initiated by the client and processed as quickly as possible. Sassa has put in place additional resources to accommodate the increased demand for alternative banks,” said Zulu.
Postbank had promised that they had put measures in place to address a similar problem.
Mbengane had told Parliament that part of the problem was that they were forced by the laws of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) to switch from an old system to a new system.
During the upgrade of their system, they experienced a glitch, which then caused delays in the payment of grants to the elderly.