Post Office on IT systems upgrades for social grant payments

Post Office ups SASSA I.T system capacity, ready for month-end grants payments

The upgrades will allow SAPO sufficient capacity to process grant payments transaction volumes involving social beneficiaries that have migrated to the new gold SASSA card. The IT improvements that SAPO has made have increased its processing capacity to better than 160 transactions per second � an improvement of more than 700%, and in line with banking industry standards.

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.

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 speeds, Lindiwe Kwele, SAPO COO says.

SAPO is the gazetted preferred payment channel for all social grants in South Africa in a government-led initiative. As part of the initiative, SAPO and SASSA are currently migrating social grants beneficiaries to a new gold SASSA card that is tailored to prevent illegal deductions on social grants.

The new SASSA card operates fully within the national payment system and social grants beneficiaries can use it to make ATM and merchant cash withdrawals, free retail merchant purchases as well as to withdraw cash over the counter inside a Post Office. 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.

Meanwhile, SAPO notifies social grants beneficiaries that have switched to the new SASSA cards that the new card does not work at the old pay-points where they were previously paid in cash by CPS officials after handing in the old white SASSA card.

It is important for social grants beneficiaries to note that once you have switched to the new gold SASSA card before 22 July, you cannot use the new card at your previous SASSA pay-point. Your social grant money will automatically be paid into the new card and, if you so wish, you can withdraw cash at any ATM, over the till at shops such as Shoprite and Boxer, the Post Office or you can simply use your card to buy goods at any shops that accept bank cards, says Kwele.

Accordingly to Kwele, the reason social grants beneficiaries are not able to use the new SASSA cards in the old pay-points is that, for proprietary reasons, the new social grants payment system is not compatible with the outgoing one. SASSA is also in the process of rationalizing its pay-points, and some of them may be decommissioned.

SAPO says that the old white SASSA card will also expire at the end of September 2018 and beneficiaries should use the limited time left to switch to the new one.

To get the new SASSA card, beneficiaries should bring their ID to any SASSA office, a selected Post Office branch or a dedicated card-swap site. SAPO and SASSA have deployed teams throughout the country where dedicated temporary card swap sites are established using existing infrastructure.

Beneficiaries requiring further information can contact the Postbank and SASSA call centres.

SASSA Call Centre 0800 60 10 11 (8am � 5pm).

Postbank: 0800 53 54 55 (24 hours)

Notes to Editors:

The new card gives social grants beneficiaries three free cash withdrawals per month from supermarkets, unlimited free swipes for purchases and one free withdrawal per month at an ATM or the Post Office

For the month of August, SAPO is paying a total of 2,8 million social grant beneficiaries on the new gold SASSA card as well as Postbank Mzansi accounts.

SAPO has switched over 2,7 million beneficiaries to the new SASSA card to date.

Source: Government of South Africa