Despite Postbank assurance, SASSA beneficiaries still don’t have money

Issued by Alexandra Abrahams MP – DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Social Development
14 Sep 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Alexandra Abrahams MP

Today, the Ministers of Social Development and Communications and Digital Technologies, Lindiwe Zulu and Mondli Gungubele, addressed the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) grant payment chaos of the past two weeks which was apparently caused by a payment glitch of Postbank’s own making and affected more than 500 000 vulnerable beneficiaries.

The DA is still receiving complaints and reports from frustrated beneficiaries who are unable to access their social grant and left in an extremely desperate situation not having access to their sole source of income.

One Johannesburg resident attempting to access her old age grant for the third time at the Post Office in Marshall Town, said she was informed by the official to come back on Monday, 18 September 2023.

Of the 21 banks used for the payment of social grants, only 1 bank failed to pay grants – the failing and bankrupt State-owned Postbank, which services the largest SASSA beneficiary group of approximately 40%.

While Postbank has indicated that the issue, caused by their own failure to address the various payment and other concerns regarding its “payment switch” software and service provider, has been solved, the fact remains that this was just the latest in a long line of “technical glitches” or “hacking attempts” that affect vulnerable grant beneficiaries on an almost monthly basis.

This time, Postbank was unable to pay hundreds of thousands of social grant recipients because of its failure to ensure usage of the software that allows the Bank to connect to BankServ Africa servers in order to make payments. Postbank has failed to pay the service provider due to ongoing investigations at the bank and National Treasury’s refusal to approve an agreement that does not comply with public procurement protocols. As a last resort, the Bank approached the Courts for permission to pay the service provider. Postbank should have had contingencies in place to ensure payment.

In the meantime, the Postbank Call Center number, 0800 53 54 55, and email line ( are overwhelmed and under resourced to deal with volume of queries.

This breakdown in communication is not only limited to beneficiaries, but between SASSA and the Postbank themselves. Yesterday the parliamentary portfolio committee on social development learnt that SASSA was unaware the Postbank had switched payment systems.

The Ministers’ press briefing unfortunately offered little comfort or confidence to vulnerable SASSA beneficiaries going to bed hungry yet again.