The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) are ready for pay up grants after changing the system with the new cards , the new gold cards could be used at ATMs, post offices and merchant stores. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/ANA

JOHANNESBURG - The SA Post Office (Sapo) on Tuesday said its upgraded IT system was ready to seamlessly process August social grant transactions through the new SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) card.

''Our IT systems are ready for the upcoming month end payments and we are confident that social grants beneficiaries will witness a smooth payments experience,'' Sapo COO Lindiwe Kwele said in a statement.

''The technicians have been working tirelessly with industry stakeholders since the beginning of the month to optimise our transaction capacity. Infrastructure upgrades have also been implemented on Postbank’s connectivity to Bankserv to improve transaction speed.''

The old Sassa card is part of the Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) contract and is being phased out. The CPS tender granted to pay out social grants was declared invalid by the Constitutional Court in 2017, obliging Sassa to look for a new service provider to disburse grants to millions of beneficiaries. The old Sassa card will no longer work after September this year.

Kwele said the new card adhered to banking industry standards and can also be used at any bank and cash merchants to access grants.

''SAPO urges social grants beneficiaries on the new Sassa card to take full advantage of this multi-channel access to their funds. Beneficiaries that switched to the new gold Sassa card do not have to go queue at the Post Office to access their money. On midnight 31 July, the money will be credited into the accounts and beneficiaries can make transactions with their cards from any of the channels available to them.''

A system glitch last month resulted in thousands of beneficiaries not able to access their cash at designated pay points across the country. Many were turned away by Sassa officials who cited technical difficulties with the system, prompting widespread criticism from opposition parties and social media users.

Kwele said the new card does not work at the old pay-points where they were previously paid in cash by CPS officials, because the new social grants payment system is not compatible with the outgoing one operated by CPS.

The South African government pays at least 17 million beneficiaries monthly grants that include child support, old-age pension and foster child care.

African News Agency (ANA)