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Get your new Sassa card before 30 September

The Social Development Minister Susan Shabangu says payments made by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) to their beneficiaries have run smoothly for the month of August.

This comes after the July system got marred by system glitches that affected 700 000 of the 12 million beneficiaries that Sassa provides with social grants. The problem affected beneficiaries who use the new Sassa gold card.

Although the agency had paid money into all the accounts, the beneficiaries could not withdraw their money due to a systems overload. The South African Post Office (SAPO) system could not handle the huge number of transactions that it had to process, notwithstanding that tests had been done on the system.

To resolve this problem, Sassa sought the assistance of all institutions working in the banking sector of the economy. At the moment the infrastructure linking SAPO and the Bankserv payment clearing house has been massively optimised. The line speed used by SAPO to process transactions now has the capacity to process 160 transactions per second.

For seven days a week Sassa runs a campaign of swapping the old cards for the new gold card.

The contract with Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) comes to an end on 30 September. Sassa filed an application in the Concourt detailing how Sassa and SAPO staff were prevented from performing their card swap duties by CPS staff at paypoints recently. The agency is confident that the court will grant it relief, given the overwhelming evidence it has presented.

The agency is appealing to all beneficiaries in possession of the new gold cards not to visit cash paypoints to claim their social grants from 1 August to 30 September 2018, because the cards don’t use fingerprints to verify identity. These cards use a pin and can be used at ATMs, post offices and stores.

Although funds become available from the first of every month, beneficiaries can choose any other date to withdraw their funds.

Acting CEO of Sassa Abraham Mahlangu acknowledges the circumstances that prompt beneficiaries to want to access their social grants on the first day of the payment cycle.

He said: “We are acutely aware of the harsh financial realities of our times, which drive beneficiaries to want to receive their grants on the first day. However, we urge our beneficiaries to withdraw their grant monies at their own convenience, as the payment cycle stretches over two weeks until the 15th of each month.”

Beneficiaries should ensure that by the end of August, they have acquired the new Sassa card because the old one expires in September.

The new card is an improvement on the old one; it allows three free cash withdrawals at points of sale, one free withdrawal at the post office per month, free swipes at points of sale, and it is accepted by all ATMs displaying the VISA sign. It also does not allow deductions for things such as airtime, loans or prepaid electricity among others.

Beneficiaries with queries can contact Sassa toll-free on 0800 60 10 11, or they can inbox the agency on social media.

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