Human rights advocacy group, Black Sash, is calling on government to launch an independent probe into Postbank's payment system after thousands of grant beneficiaries were left without their monthly payouts this month.
Black Sash director, Rachel Bukasa, said government must also provide solutions on how to best resolve the issues, the time-frames needed and called for the findings to be made public.
Bukasa called on Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu to address rembursing the beneficiaries for failed transaction fees.
She also called on the finalisation of the agreement between the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and Postbank so both entities could be held accountable.
IOL previously reported that grant beneficiaries were unable to access their monies due to a technical glitch.
According to Black Sash, many beneficiaries have been sleeping outside grant sites, unable to pay the taxi fare home. Some pensioners were still walking to and from ATMs, retailers, Sassa offices and Post Office branches daily.
Despite Postbank stating that the issue had been rectified, hundreds of grantees complained that when they went to make withdrawals, they could not access their funds while some were paid as little as R63.
Bukasa said they were still receiving requests for assistance from beneficiaries who were unable to withdraw their grant monies.
“The problem appears to have affected mostly pensioners, although the Black Sash has received reports that recipients of child grants and disability grants are struggling to withdraw money. The issue is widespread, and we have been inundated with calls nationwide,” Bukasa added.
She said it was dismissive of Zulu, her department and Sassa to refer to the issue as a ‘system glitch’.
"What we have witnessed is not new, it is systemic and ongoing since November 2022 when Postbank took over the payment of grants from the South African Post Office,” she said.
“The last week has demonstrated that the Minister, her department, and Sassa have failed dismally in fulfilling its Constitutional obligations.”
Zulu and Communications and Digital Technologies, Mondli Gungubele, are expected to address the matter in a media briefing scheduled to take place at 1pm on Thursday.