Johannesburg - Millions of elderly South Africans have not received their social grants after the South African Social Security Agency payment network was reported to be down over the past few days, due to technical glitches at Postbank.
Alexandra Abrahams, the DA spokesperson of Social Development, said his party had been inundated with complaints from desperate Sassa grant beneficiaries who were struggling to withdraw their funds from ATMs and retailers due to technical glitches at Postbank.
“This is particularly worrying as yesterday was allocated for the payment of old-age grants and many seniors were forced to return home empty-handed after queuing for hours in the wind, rain and cold.
“Today is allocated for disability grants, and all indications are that the glitches are persisting, and people are unable to access their funds,” Abrahams said.
He said his party was calling on Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu to ensure that the problem was immediately fixed, so that vulnerable individuals were not plunged deeper into crisis.
Abrahams said the glitches affected beneficiaries who had Sassa gold cards, saying that was despite the fact that the cards’ expiry dates had been extended to December 2023 as Sassa and Postbank had failed to renew the gold cards timeously.
He said the DA had also been informed that Postbank was not renewing gold cards even though beneficiaries had four months left in which to receive their new cards and no indication from Postbank or Sassa on whether the expiry dates would be extended yet again.
“Postbank has indicated Sassa gold card holders can access their grant via the South African Post Office. However, many SAPO branches have closed down across the country due to ANC government incompetence, leaving the few open SAPO branches overwhelmed in the current situation.
“Vulnerable elders will spend the night on an empty stomach, without guarantees that the glitches would be fixed by tomorrow,” he said.
Abrahams said the DA encouraged Sassa beneficiaries to ditch Postbank and instead, open bank accounts at reliable banks that would not leave them stranded without access to funds.
“While the minister has lately been focused on nefarious schemes to assist comrades, she has woefully failed in her mandate to serve South Africa’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens. It is time she showed some leadership and call Postbank to account for its continued failures of Sassa beneficiaries,” Abrahams said.
The Saturday Star